We’re far enough into the campaign now that clubs should know what their aspirations are for the second half of the season, writes Steven Coney.
Some sides who were gunning for promotion in August may now be happy with survival in December - such is the topsy-turvy nature of the competitive National League.
We’ve decided to assess each club and give them a grade based on their season so far. Is your club a whizz-kid or a classroom nuisance? Let’s find out!
A* - Top Of The Class!
Didn’t think the U’s could better last season’s 12th place finish and run to the FA Cup fifth round? Think again! What a first half of the season it has been for Paul Doswell's side.
A - Looking Good!
Just two points off the top and the National League’s top scorers - they’re most definitely still in the title hunt and have kept four clean sheets in a row.
Despite losing important players in the summer, the Whites continue to compete at the top end of the table and are a dangerous side.
John Askey has the Silkmen punching above their weight again - tell us something we don’t know! They keep grinding out results and are a point off top spot.
Anthony Limbrick has the Cards playing some good stuff and they were in the hat for the FA Cup third round draw. It could be a season to remember at Kingfield.
Could their tenth season in the National League be Wrexham’s last? Boss Dean Keates has the Racecourse faithful believing again but they must score more goals.
B - Keep Up The Good Work!
Luke Garrard has made the Wood a team to fear in the National League. They have the talent and experience to keep up their promotion charge.
The Ravens' home form must improve but they have enough weapons going forward to cause even the best National League teams major problems.
Dagenham & Redbridge
John Still’s side is packed full of goals and you feel the Daggers have the potential to go on a long winning run if they hit their stride. Are the Daggers sharpening up?
Have drawn more games than any other team. Away record could do with improvement but Fleet are sailing along nicely.
One man team? No chance! Despite losing prolific striker Dave Tarpey early on this season, the Magpies have done well following promotion.
Jay Saunders’ side sit tenth despite a recent run of patchy form. The Kent side have quality and credit must go to Saunders for getting the Stones rolling.
C - Could Do Better!
Another one of our clubs to make it into the FA Cup third round draw. League form hasn’t quite been what you would expect but the Coasters have huge potential.
FC Halifax Town
Billy Heath’s men started the season so well after promotion but they now haven’t won in 11 games. Will Heath get Halifax back on track? I’d almost bank on it!
The pre-season favourites have struggled for consistency all season. You can’t deny the quality in the squad, however, and they’re capable of going on a formidable run.
D - Not Up To Scratch!
With Steve Watson now in charge, the Tynesiders will be hoping for improvement. They have a strong side on paper and will surely be Heed-ing up the table soon.
It’s been a struggle for the Lions as many people expected. With Paul Cox in charge you wouldn’t be surprised to see them climb away from trouble.
Craig Harrison built an impressive side in the summer but Pools have been lacklustre. Something seems to be missing but there is great potential at Victoria Park.
Mark Yates is Solihull’s third boss of the season but Saturday’s win against Leyton Orient could be a turning point. They need a few Moor like that!
It’s been an up and down campaign so far with more downs than ups. Torquay have improved as of late and the Gulls could well take flight in the coming weeks.
E - Must Improve!
Tipped by many to be in an around the play-offs, the Bluebirds had a disastrous start to the season. Ady Pennock is turning things around now but there’s still a long way to go.
Made some brilliant summer signings but results so far must have given Blues fans the, well, blues! Marcus Bignot kis an impressive manager and is the right man for the job.
Tipped to be promotion outsiders but it has been a poor campaign so far. The Spitfires have been “bordering on pathetic” at times - manager Richard Hill’s words, not ours!
A strong side on paper hasn’t produced the results O’s fans would have expected. Justin Edinburgh will have to find out why and soon or the “biggest club in the National League” as he put it will be in a relegation scrap.
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