FOOTBALL

OPINION: Why next season will be a good one for Gloucester City

Gloucester City have defied expectations so far this season, with relegation fears a distant memory. The Tigers currently sit 11th in the Vanarama Conference North table, 20 points clear of the relegation zone with just nine games left in the current season.

With this being their last season ground sharing with Cheltenham Town, Tim Harris’ side will move out of the county and accompany Evesham United at their ground – The Jubilee Stadium. With this being ground having a significantly smaller capacity – just 3,000 – it will provide the much needed atmosphere that has been lacking over the last seven years.

But on the field, the Tigers have done extremely well with such a small squad. The additions that Tim Harris has made have proved their worth, including ex-Cheltenham Town academy graduate Luke Thomas being the stand-out performer since his arrival from Derby County on loan in January.

The 19 year-old was named Man of the Match after their 1-1 draw with Harrogate Town on Saturday, assisting Luke Hopper for an instant response after going behind. His award was justified, with Thomas producing some truly mesmerising talent that was recognised by his manager.

With an attendance of only 374 at the weekend, it’s key for the fans to come back in their masses when the move to Evesham is completed next season.

With some impressive results over the likes of promotion hopefuls Salford City, Gloucester should probably start to aim higher that just aiming for survival year after year. If they can recruit well in the summer, there’s no reason why – with their new stadium set to be ready by next summer – the Tigers can’t become a real driving force in the Conference North.

The flair that they posses within the squad is superior to those that are currently propping up the table. With the contact book that Tim Harris boasts, there’s no reason why he can’t bring in some quality additions in the summer transfer window.

City have only suffered defeat in three of their last 10 games with those coming against Darlington, FC United of Manchester and Brackley Town. The score-lines in the losses to Brackley and FC United may have flattered the victors, plus the long term injury to first team regular Darren Mullings has seen luck go against the Tigers. However sat just eight points of the play-offs, this current season will be seen as a success in the eyes of the players and fans at the club.

The one slight disappointment in the grand scheme of things is the lack of depth in the current squad. With a current first team of just 16 players – one of those being a loan – Harris needs to work his magic to add some players that can make a difference and bulk out the squad next season. Yes they have a small budget, but settling for the minimum when they have potential to jump up a division is criminal.

 

 

 

 

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