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Progress report on FC United’s season after 8 matches

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Let’s deal in cold, hard facts first.  After eight games played, FC United of Manchester sit 10th in the table on eleven points.  The purveyors of punk football have won three, drawn two and lost three.  It’s a solid if unspectacular start to life in the Vanarama National League North.

Beyond the ‘cold’ and ‘hard’ facts, FC should have nothing to fear after winning promotion to the National League North.   Going up as champions, ending seven frustrating years in the Northern Premier League and complete with a brand new stadium, Broadhurst Park, FC United have the platform to build on their upward momentum though it may be a little optimistic to expect the team to achieve a second successive promotion.

Indeed it has been a difficult introduction to life in the National League North for Karl Marginson’s men going winless in their first four games before notching up a victory against Brackley Town.  Since that win, FC have gone on to win a further two games and draw one more, signs that the Red Rebels have finally found their feet in the division.

Strengths: Going forward

From the opening game, FC United have looked to play on the front foot. Karl Marginson has encouraged his players to take risks and look for goals.  When the side have the bit between their teeth, they look extremely dangerous and are compelling to watch.

Rory Fallon, who scored the first competitive goal at Broadhurst Park, is a dynamic presence.

The predatory Tom Greaves is back amongst the goals, a welcome sign for Margy and company who’ll need his front man to keep firing all season.

And Sam Madeley, who seems to be on a one-man mission to win the goal of the season award with wonder strikes against Lowestoft and Curzon Ashton, looks to be an exciting signing from Salford City.

With the frontline gelling, fans of FC United can look forwards to plenty of goals.

FC have scored 15 times this season, a tally only bettered by Corby Town and current leaders Solihull Moors.  With risk comes reward but…

Weaknesses: A leaky defense

Given the style of play FC employ, opponents will always have the chance to counter and more often than not this season United have been punished.  So far the team has only managed to keep one clean sheet and have conceded 13 goals.

Naturally, the attacking ethos of the side means that the back four and keeper will need to keep their wits about them whenever opponents of FC United break on the counter.

The defense has been hit with the departure of Lewis Lacy who took up a football scholarship in Syracuse but there is enough quality in the backline to overcome that setback.

What Karl Marginson needs to find is a way to retain FC United’s cutting edge whilst making the defense tighter.  It’s not an easy task in a division where the quality of play is higher but thus far Margy more often than not has found solutions to any problem.

Rating the Manager: A

It’s impossible to think of FC United without manager Karl Marginson.  He’s been there from the beginning and has masterminded three successful promotion campaigns.

After a wobbly first few games he’s overseen an upturn in form and will be looking for FC United to consolidate their position and build a platform to move upwards in the Vanarama National League North.

His signings have improved FC’s attacking options as he looks for his frontline to score the requisite number of goals to stay in the division and possibly mount another promotion charge.

Margy has been there through thick and thin and continues to show that he’s the man to take FC United forward.

The Broadhurst Park Factor:

FC United haven’t quite settled into their new home quite yet.  In four league games FC have only won once, drawing two and losing the other.  If FC United want to mount a charge up the table then they’ll need to make home comforts count.

On this front the fans will play a huge part in pushing the team on.  The atmosphere is electric at Broadhurst Park on match days and if the players use that support to their advantage then FC United’s new home can become a fortress.

Season Expectations:

After a seven year toil to gain entry to the Vanarama National League North it may be a bit greedy to expect another promotion tilt though another 14-match unbeaten run would be handy.  The immediate goal is to establish FC in this division and then look upwards.

That’s not to say that the club are incapable of achieving back to back promotions but after an extended stay in the Northern Premier League everyone associated with FC United knows that patience is a virtue worth keeping.

If a good platform can be built then Karl Marginson can look to target the play-offs.

Right now the key goal for this season is to establish a foothold in the National League North and build from there.

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