THE Christmas and New Year holiday is a vitally important time for all football clubs.
It’s a spell which really can make or break your season.
A lot of people will look at the fixture list and note there are still 20-odd games left in New Year and think that’s an awful long time.
But if you have a bad Christmas and New Year, those following months can be really tough.
The first game of the spell is massive – and all clubs will be looking for victory either tonight or tomorrow to give themselves a boost.
Momentum can be a huge factor at this time of year. Teams who start off badly can often find they’ve not picked up a point after three holiday games.
On the flip side, teams who start well gain confidence and that can carry them through.
Wins put a spring in everyone’s step, as do those late equalisers that you probably don’t deserve.
Everyone turns up on the training ground the follow day, when everyone else is enjoying the festivities, and they are ready to play again.
I think Sir Alex Ferguson is the master of management at this time of year (and plenty of others as well!).
He really focuses on getting the squad right to produce their best for Manchester United and he seems to know when to rest players at exactly the right time.
Fergie will have looked at the holiday games and he will know already in his own mind ideally who will be playing in each of the three fixtures.
That’s the sort of planning which needs to be put in place and if it works out perfectly then fine. If not then small alterations can be made.
The thing for Town is that, at the moment, they are on a bad run of only two points from the last 18 available.
They have been leaking goals and things haven’t been going their way.
Simon Grayson will be determined to get a good result at Palace tomorrow – a game which is live on Sky TV at 5.20 – to give his side the ideal tonic for a busy spell of holiday games.
His focus will be on turning the recent form around, getting his squad bright and sharp and hopefully rekindling the confidence which was so evident in the early part of the campaign.
A good Christmas can do that.
The cynics among us will also be keeping an eye on the FA disciplinary section of their website!
You always find an interesting straight red card or two at this time of year from players fancying having a few games off.
Likewise it’s interesting to note how many players pick up their fifth booking of the campaign just in time to miss a holiday game.
Let’s just hope Town pick up a stack of points.