After a bright start, life as an Edinburgh City player hasn’t quite gone to plan for Ashley Grimes since moving north in the summer.
A debut brace in the Betfred Cup against tomorrow’s opponents Berwick Rangers, allied with another goal and strong team showing against Motherwell, suggested City and Grimes were on course for a good start to the club’s second season as an SPFL side.
It hasn’t panned out that way however, with City losing all four league games to date. They’ve scored just one league goal – Lewis Allan’s late consolation against Montrose on the opening day.
“Yeah,” Grimes replied when asked if such a poor start came as a surprise after a decent pre-season. “That’s the frustrating thing. There had been a lot of positive things – the Motherwell game, the Berwick game and a lot of positive signs in some of the friendlies as well.
“For one reason or another, we haven’t managed to take that in to the league campaign – that’s the really disappointing thing. We want to put that right as quickly as possible.”
Last weekend’s enforced break due to international action came at the right time according to City manager Gary Jardine – something Grimes agrees with. “I think it’s done us the world of good,” he said. “We’ve been able to regroup and get some sessions under our belts in terms of working as a team.
“There’s a lot of new players so that’s been important and hopefully we can take that in to Saturday against Berwick. We’re desperate to get a result and I’m sure we will.”
Whilst new personnel can take time to gel, with injuries not helping matters, Grimes is well aware it’s no excuse. “We’re all disappointed with the way the season’s started and were all hoping for a much better start,” he admitted. “We’re all hurting and we all want to put that right.
“It’s a long season, but we can’t keep saying it – four games, no wins and no points – it’s not good enough. On the other hand, we’ve got 32 games to play. We will pick up and we will get it right.”
What City are desperate to avoid is a repeat of last season, when a first league win took three months. Whilst that could understandably be lurking in the back of a few minds, Grimes believes that, having gone through it before, the manager and other players remained positive.
“We don’t want it to be another scenario like that,” he said. “Obviously I wasn’t here last season but I’ve heard all about it. We can’t go another ten games without winning and we’re at the foot of the table. We don’t want it continuing longer than four games.
“Everyone’s still really positive. The manager’s a really positive guy and he’s encouraging the lads. We’re all trying to stick together, encourage each other and bring the best out of each other. We’re all still getting to know each other. Things are improving, but they need to improve a bit quicker than they are doing. I’m sure that’ll happen.”
Results aside, Grimes is enjoying the fresh challenge north of the border – even with a 400 mile round commute from Manchester every week. “It’s a great set of lads, the manager’s great and we’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “We want to do things the right way, but football’s a results business and when you get them, you enjoy it a lot more.
“The travelling’s absolutely fine. I’ve settled in to my accommodation so it’s not been a problem at all. Whether it’s been the train or the car, it’s been absolutely fine and I’m feeling good physically. It’s about taking in to Saturday and getting our performance levels up a bit.”
That will hopefully bring goals, the lack of which for Grimes personally isn’t a cause for worry just yet. “I managed to grab a few in the Betfred Cup and felt like I was going to score,” he recalled. “It’s been a little bit difficult in the league but we’ve got good, creative players, players who can score goals and young lads on loan from good clubs. It’s just getting all those little ingredients right.”
A repeat of his last outing against The Wee Rangers would certainly help. “Fingers crossed,” said Grimes. “That was my debut and was a great start for me, so hopefully we can do that again but this time get all three points.”