Two weekends ago, Martin Allen was minding his own business at home but itching for one more challenge. And then the phone rang.
Monday morning and back at Barnet FC for the fifth time! Having reportedly turned the job down in January before the appointment of Graham Westley, Tony Kleanthous wasted no time in re-appointing the man who has walked out on the club more than once.
Whilst his previous spells have come when the club are usually in trouble, this current situation goes beyond that, more mission impossible this time and one even Tom Cruise would probably have said no to taking on.
The Bees before the weekend games were seven points adrift of safety heading into a clash with a Luton Town side looking to get back on track and re-claim top spot, but a single point behind Chesterfield.
Going into Monday morning, the gap is still seven points to safety, but the Spireites surprise win over Notts County on Sunday has opened up a four-point gap between themselves and the Bees, even a win on Good Friday will still see the Bees propping up the Football League before a trip to Stevenage on Easter Monday.
This is by far the hardest Barnet task Allen will undertake, but are there any crumbs of comfort for him? Now the Luton fixture is done, the remaining games on the fixture list are in Barnet’s favour, the highest placed club they will face is 12th placed Newport County. Not that it’s a guarantee the Bees can pick up points, the sides they face will want the points just as much as them.
What you will expect is Allen to have his team ‘up’ for each and every one of those seven cup finals. Having trimmed the squad down from 43 to 20 a week ago, those 20 will know exactly what is required of them for the remainder of the season.
What goes against him is the fact Barnet have been a 45-minute team for a majority of the season and also haven’t scored twice in a game since 16th December. They also struggle to defend a one goal lead as confidence is very brittle and every little mistake is being punished which happens when you’re bottom of the league.
The consensus is Allen has arrived too late to stop the fall into the National League, with only seven league wins all season and the same amount possibly needed to survive surely it can’t be done?
If the impossible does happen, Kleanthous surely needs to pay whatever it takes to keep Allen at The Hive, for some reason the connection works between Barnet and Allen, you could also argue that it wouldn’t matter on the offer as Allen will always chase the money and is he the long-term solution to Barnet’s problem?
You can be sure the next 6-7 weeks will just be more ups and downs on the Barnet rollercoaster, strap in or get off!
Written by Trevor Knell
Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37
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