If recently appointed manager Andy Legg didn’t fully comprehend the size of the task ahead of him at Bangor City, their defeat to Connah’s Quay at the weekend will have left him with a far clearer picture of just how much work he and his coaching staff need to invest into his side.
At first glance, a 2-0 defeat to a side who’ve invested heavily in order to challenge at the top end of the table will not set alarm bells ringing but performance-wise the side were second-best in every department, and by some margin. If making the top-six cut is indeed the target this season, then there’s a lot of work to be done.
There’s no denying that Bangor City are very much a work in progress and Legg has admitted that his squad are somewhat unprepared for competitive action in both organisation and fitness and haven’t had a proper ‘pre-season’ – what that says about his predecessor Nev Powell, I’m not so sure, but every manager has own standards and expectations.
Supported by fresh investment into the club this summer, unlike Powell, Legg has been able to make some solid additions to the squad. Legg’s moved quickly to bring in a handful of players strengthening at full-back, midfield and up-front with the high profile signings of strikers Jamie Reed and Daniel Nardiello giving City fans fresh hope this season.
And while they are becoming sharper with each game and settling into the side, it’s at the back where Bangor seem most vulnerable.
Defensively the side looked very poor against Connah’s Quay and Legg is far from having a settled and established back line on which to build the rest of his team on. Bangor have gone with a back three and and back four in their opening two games and Legg made numerous defensive switches throughout the game against the Nomads.
Debutee Bradyen Shaw started at right-back before finishing in midfield, another new recruit Jacques Kpohomouh started at left-back and then moved into the centre alongside Leon Clowes, Gary Roberts started at the back but moved up into midfield, Danny Gossett started in midfield before moving to right-back, Jordan Davies started in midfield on his debut and then dropped back into left-back and Anthony Miley returned to the side, coming off the bench to play right-back.
Just from those observations, it’s quite clear that Legg is not satisfied with what he’s seeing from his defence and he will now need to firstly, identify his preferred personnel (or bring others in) to play in either a back three or back four, and then work hard on to establish solid organisation on the training ground.
Andy Legg is experienced in both the professional game and the Welsh Premier League so there’s little doubt over his ability to implement these changes and bring the squad up to scratch but one of the biggest barriers right now will be, as a semi-professional club, having the time for these training sessions. Every match will help the players in terms of sharpness and conditioning but it’s during training where the real tweaking on organisation and shape needs to be done. This week the fixture list picks up pace, Bangor play host to a Bala Town side, who’re yet to hit their best form, in front of the live TV cameras on Saturday before facing Newtown, who’re off to a bright start, on Wednesday and are at home again the next Saturday against Aberystwyth. That’s three games, with nine points at stake, in which Legg and his coaching staff are going to only have very limited time to work on the training ground.
Legg has targeted sixth-place this season and even higher beyond that, but with just 22 games before the league split, you have to question whether he’ll have enough time to get his team set-up right and be able to compete with those other chasing clubs to make the top-six cut in January? It’s a big club and right now it’s also a big job.
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Featured image courtesy of Bangor City FC