Roper Reports will endeavour to make sense of the recent happenings at North End and offer general comment on the world of Football.
During the season there'll be a new report each week. You can navigate the season's articles by using the 'Older' and 'Newer' buttons or by using the drop-down menu.
Wednesday 16th April 2014
A long drag of a season finally reaches the Easter landmark and for North End a final long shot at an automatic place. Defeat on Good Friday in London means a certain play off place but no more but a win and maybe, just maybe, the door is left slightly ajar. It will no doubt be a tough game but I think the Bees have only won one of their last five games and picked up just five points in the process. Surely we will play with the freedom that our guaranteed play-off spot affords us and for the 1,600 from Preston at Griffin Park it should be a great day out. Brentford did, of course, inflict that heavy defeat the Saturday before Christmas at Deepdale but I think things will be different in the capital as Simon Grayson's boys have one last shot at keeping plan A alive and kicking. North End should be in great heart after the thumping of a very ordinary Carlisle side at Deepdale last Saturday but nevertheless the performance pointed to a real attacking attitude particularly when the visitors pulled one back just before half time. We came out in the second half and gave it a real go with the rewards being there for all to see.
Should plan A fall by the wayside then plan B is to finish 3rd or fourth and get that all important home leg at Deepdale on either Tuesday 13th or Thursday 15th. I know we have been playing better away but when it comes to the crunch and perhaps extra time I am sure I would rather have it at Deepdale than in Rotherham or East London. So if it doesn't go according to plan at Brentford we need to right it straight away by tucking Shrewsbury away on Easter Monday at Deepdale. Many will see it as a regulation win but in my experience playing teams at the bottom at this time of the season invariably produce the toughest matches of all and the Shrews will be playing for their League One lives in what should be another intriguing encounter.
Friday, of course, is Gentry Day and probably the most high profile remembrance day since its inception in 2005. Sir Tom passed away just two months ago along with a number of high profile and not so high profile North End fans. I will remember them all on Friday but in particular Mick Murphy, Dick Clegg and Maltese Joe. Great people in their own right and fellow North Enders no longer with us. Gentry Day is unique to us and along with the bowler hats and plenty of ale we will remember those no longer with us.
May God Bless them all – they are not fans, they are Gentry.