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David Hannant: Can a new sporting director turn City around?

The phrase “new manager bounce” is commonly used in the world of soccer, referring to the reinvigoration of a squad, injection of new motivation, and improved results after the appointment of a new manager. The recent prediction of David Wagner not being in the dugout for City’s match was proven incorrect, but the team now has a new sporting director, Ben Knapper, in place of Stuart Webber. This change in leadership raises the question of whether there will be a “new sporting director bounce” similar to the effect of a new manager.

The role of a sporting director involves overseeing the infrastructure, recruitment, and resources for the coach, as opposed to the coach’s focus on training, team selection, and game management. While the impact of a new manager on players is well-documented, it is uncertain whether a new sporting director will have the same effect. Knapper’s influence on team selection and changes in the atmosphere at Colney as a result of his arrival will certainly have an impact, but its translation to on-field performance remains to be seen.

The arrival of Knapper will likely lead to changes within the club, with new ideas and personalities influencing the inner workings. Therefore, players will have to be as eager to impress him as they would a new manager, especially if Knapper is considering improvements and changes within the squad. The big question remains whether this will be enough to turn around the current struggling season for the team.

Although the columnist generally has little interest in international breaks, the recent one has proven to be well-timed for City. The win against Cardiff did little to improve the mood and atmosphere among the fans, but the break may have served as a cooling off period for everyone. The hope is that the eagerness for club football to resume after the break will counteract any sense of dread and flatness in NR1, and restore some momentum and positivity within the team and its supporters.

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