Often Partisan

An Entertaining Game: Blackpool Reflections

Here are my reflections on the game between Blues and Blackpool at St Andrews yesterday.

An Enjoyable Game

Whilst we didn’t win I came out of the game feeling fairly entertained. I hadn’t expected that much from the game so I was happy with a point at least. Unlike previous performances, no one particularly stood out – either for being exceptionally good or bad and I think that’s probably a good thing; the formation looked settled and whilst we didn’t create a raft of chances we didn’t look like we were on the rack either. The Championship is a grind and these sorts of points are ones that will help us remain out of the bottom three.

Mitch Hancox

Mitch was named man of the match at the game and whilst I don’t think he stood out massively I thought he did have a good game against one of the better wingers he will face in this division in Tom Ince. The young left back put in a couple of great tackles to help thwart attacks and he did his job going forwards admirably, looking to overlap and to get to the byline to get the ball in. With Murphy out for a while we’re going to be a lot more reliant on Mitch and if he can keep turning out performances like this he’ll do just fine.

Dan Burn

I was interested to see how Burn would play having been dropped to the bench in the last game and it appears he’s picked it back up. I was sat with my friend egneg and he pointed out an interesting comparison between Burn and former Blues centre-back Darren Purse. Both of them are strong, brave defenders who are willing to put in the hard yards, to make the tackles that could give away penalties and to push up front as an emergency striker when needed; and both are prone to drop one clanger per game. That clanger dropping was what stopped Purse from making it to the very top in my opinion and I think it’s the thing that will ensure Dan Burn will play at maybe lower Premier League at the peak of his career. However, he is still a fine defender and at 21 he has time to iron that out of this career.

The Debutants

Both Dariusz Dudka and Aaron McLean made their debuts and I think they had contrasting fortunes. Dudka looked very assured to me; Reilly had had one of those games when he couldn’t find a blue shirt with a pass and when Dudka came on we looked a lot more assured in the middle. I thought he was going to re-enact the volley he scored in the development squad but unfortunately he couldn’t catch it quite as cleanly and the keeper took it in well. McLean seemed to be a strange one to bring on; we lost a focal point in taking Zigic off and the gap between the Blackpool defence and keeper wasn’t big enough for McLean to exploit with his pace; consequently he looked a little bit out of it and he will need to pick up a bit if he’s to get more game time.

All in all, it’s a game I was happy with and a result I think we can say was a decent enough one. Lee Clark has a formation that works now and he needs to stick with it; I think other than maybe bringing in Dudka for Reilly he’s got a settled XI and hopefully over the next few weeks we can continue in that vein.

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48 Responses to “An Entertaining Game: Blackpool Reflections”

  • Lee says:

    Agreed, dudka looks a very good loan signing, can’t stand zigic, we looked a better side whith him gone, he brought nothing to the table yesterday, again. if Hancox can perform as he did in the first half for an entire game he will become a very good player, but overall you couldn’t tell which were the the team sitting 4th and which were the side struggling towards the bottom, hopefully dudka’s quality can be the difference between a frustrating loss and picking up a few points

    • Mike says:

      I don’t think you went to the same game as me we were a much better team while zigic was on he won a lot of headers and distributed the ball well on the ground. We couldn’t keep the ball after he went off

      • Lee says:

        Well, from where I was sat at least two good quality crosses were put over in the first half by Hancox and zigic was no where to be seen, he didn’t actually do anything to threaten their goal Infact did he have a shot? He’s utter rubbish and in honesty we changed the way we played and in the last 5/10 minutes could easily have won the game with a bit of luck, did the one looping ball not hit the bar? Sooner the drain on the club is out the better, the guys who cost nothing and earn a tenth of his wage bring more to the side than he ever will, one thing I will say about lee Clark is with what he’s having to deal with I still find it hard for people to criticise him after that performance yesterday, and dan yep your right mate I forgot he’s not on loan but I certainly get him signed up until the end of the season at least, is he not only here until jan? Blues looked good yesterday and hopefully with a few games McLean can bring a more mobile attacking option to the side as apposed to zigic who takes all day to turn, he’s a very predictable player, he gets the ball, tries to turn, loses it then plows through the player holding is hands up in the air when the ref gives the inevitable free kick, he frustrates the shite out of me, 60k a week my arse, gonna be a good day when his contract is up

        • mike ware says:

          I get that people get frustrated by zigic because they are expecting a traditional english centre forward which he is not he was brought up on the european game which is different. What is beyond me is that some people think he cant play. He may have not got on the end of a couple of crosses but were they played into his area. Colin Tattum did a good article in the mail about a week ago on Zigic which sumned him up very well. Even if you are six foot seven you still need the right service

      • John says:

        Unfortunately,Zigic has no positional sense.That,s why he scores so few goals. He does not win enough headers in the box. He’s 6ft.8in. and should win virtually every ball in the air, but he’s too easiily pushed off the ball and,like i say,in the wrong position. Apart from that,i thought Blues played quite well and with a bit of luck,could have won. Gray should have won the game with that chance right at the death. Ince looked a class player for Blackpool and i can’t see him being there, much longer.

    • almajir says:

      Dudka isn’t on loan ;)

      • StaffsBlue says:

        He’s on a deal until January I believe. But he’s not contracted to anyone… except us at the moment. I believe that Scott Allen will be sent back to the Baggies in January and we’ll sign Dudka, at least, until the end of the season.

  • Frankie says:

    A decent point against a tough side who will be fighting out the play=offs i reckon.
    We are some way from that, so a point is a fair return.
    Am not Zigic’s biggest fan either but wouldn’t want to see a ‘groundswell’ developing against him.

  • Bob Your Uncle says:

    Good game, many were complaining that Zigic didn’t attack crosses enough but I don’t think I can ever remember him being that sort of player and I thought he offered us more as a lone striker than what McLean did. Dudka looked experience but a little bit short of match fitness. Hancox was superb and against undoubtably the best winger in the league. Overall a good result that could have went either way but it was so important that Blues didn’t lose it.

  • AF says:

    I have to say that I think you are wrong about Dan Burn, not about his effort and commitment. However he will always be hampered by a lack of pace. Hence probably Championship is going to be his true level and he needs a good reader of the game with him ala Scott Dann. Thought Dudka started brightly but tailed off with misplaced passes. Novak played well and may have found his position.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    ‘and the gap between the Blackpool defence and keeper wasn’t big enough for McLean to exploit with his pace’. This says a lot about the tactical nous of our leader

  • Bcfc beast says:

    When will the competition results be announced?

  • a DRAW is no good to anyone in this league particularly if you are at home.
    Our position is precarious in this league.
    Sounds reasonable to get a point but if you did that for 46 games to get 46 points based on the last 10 seasons results you’ll more than likely get relegated.
    46 points relegates sides.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Zigic really seems to be splitting the fans with half seeing him as a hero and the others seeing him as a drain. He’s a better player than most give him credit for unfortunately we are not playing to his strengths. Yes a big man he is but there’s a brain there too pass to his feet and he will be more effective as opposed to high hopeful balls to his head.

    Mitch had a good game but I thought his passing was a bit poor. Burke needs to be dropped I thought he was a passenger the whole game. Perhaps he thinks he’s moving in January and his head is elsewhere. Gray looked good when he came on. I hope LC gives him a start.

    The debutants both looked quite decent Dudka looked quite strong though not very quick. McLean looks pacy and tricky though he doesnt look fit and looked knackered after 15 minutes

  • glosblue says:

    I also don’t agree with all the criticism of Zigic, Like most of our players he does what he does ok and we’ve looked a different team when he’s playing up front. He also helps out in defence making a number of headed clearances. Basically I agree with everything Colin Tattum said about him and we have no one else of his size in attack. Once he was substituted his aerial threat went and McLean was ineffective in that position. Whilst I agree he’s not worth £65k pw that’s what is in the contract and nothing can be done about that until the end of the season. We don’t have anyone to replace him at present, every team needs a target man up front. I well remember the days of the triple strike force of Francis, Latchford & Hatton – those were the days!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Those indeed were the days. Best I’ve seen personally.

      As for Zigic, I really don’t see the point of criticising him anymore. We all know what he’s good at.. and what he’s not good at. He won’t change his style of play now, so there’s not much to be gained from debating him for the umpteenth time. He’ll be gone at the end of the season, so for those who like him, make the most of it.. for those who don’t, there’s not much longer to wait.

    • mike ware says:

      I also remember that forward line and like you I believe that ZIgic is our best option now

  • toby says:

    Mitch played well but got caught out of position a few times and they scored from one of them .Zigic slid in for onwe cross but i don’t recall him getting anywhere near any other.We gave the ball away to cheaply and could easily have been 3-1 down at half time so overall a point was a good one.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      He had a good game overall, but I think that Hancox could have made more of an effort to block the cross in the first place. Hopefully, he’ll watch it back and learn from it.

  • BigmanSteve0 says:

    I think our No1 priority @ the moment is to get us a Martin grainger character, we are desperate for a leader of his calibre….IMO
    Kro sotv

  • Mineheadblue says:

    Look, it’s just a personal opinion and people may not agree….but here’s the thing for me; I’ve supported Blues since the 60’s and I don’t ever remember a time when we would have thought that a point at home against Blackpool was a good point!! I know that the Championship is tough but come on…….to me this sums up just how far we have declined. I get all of the Yeung thing and the lack of money but for many people it’s this that sums up where we are now and it’s hard to take.
    I know that things will get better KRO

    • Art Watson says:


      I agree entirely and so do the missing thousands of fans who have voted with their feet.

      Many fans are no longer interested and drawing at home against an average team won’t bring them back.

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        Absolutely. I sat there thinking if I’d overslept and what would I have missed. It is so depressing. Kids who by and large aren’t ready, loanees who we can’t build around, older players passed their prime and lower division nuggets but missing gold

  • BlueBlues says:

    Blues played ok yesterday and may of nicked it towards the end. Some good performances and young Mitch played really well against one of the best players in our league. Disappointed with the size of the crowd although we did try to get behind the team at times but it is still lacking in atmosphere. What was the referee on in the second half six bookings and what does Ziggy have to do to get a foul. The next four games are all winnable so we will have a better idea of which direction we are heading.


  • macca salop blue says:

    Hancox was immense 1st half , but was quiet 2nd half, Reilly had a poor poor game and agree he just had to come off. Dudka, good impact initially, great shot, and through ball in first 5 mins from when he came on then he was as bad as Reilly kept giving the ball away in vital areas almost leading to them scoring . Burke was mainly anonymous , McLean didn’t make an impact, seems has no heading ability at all, we lacked penetration at the end , we didn’t seem to have any target man up front, Burn looked shaky at times, hoofed clearances, one ending up on the roof when under little pressure, thought Novak has massively improved even though he is limited, seems more confident and is holding up the ball well. Sounds like I’m pretty negative, but actually it was an okay performance , a draw was probably a fair result considering Blackpool have only lost twice this season, Ince was generally kept quiet, Blackpool were average at best. After Charlton debacle I would have settled for 1-1 before the game. I wouldn’t have classed it as entertaining there were spells in the game where each team was competing to see who could launch it the highest, needed someone from either side to put their foot on ball and control the game, never happened.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Anyone who knows McLean as a player, knows that, for a small guy, he’s very good in the air. He’s a proven goalscorer at this level. But, like any striker, he’s only as good as the service he gets.

      Give him a chance.. he’d only been there 24 hours and had one 40 minute training session. He’s not played many minutes this season. Another couple of games will see his fitness levels rise.

  • BeeGeeBlueBoy says:

    Zigic this and Zigic that but Hancox despite a good game showed lack of experience in being out of position for their goal and everegged it in the first half when knocking it into tough was the safe and right thing to do. No doubt if Ferdinand Coly had done it he’d be getting the Zigic flack.

  • andy says:

    Zigic simply should have done a lot more for Birmingham since relegation from the Premiership. He certainly has not been value for money over the past few seasons and this is why he divides the supporters. Paul Devlin summed it up for me with his piece on Zigic. Kevin Francis was nowhere near the stature Zigic came to the club with, yet he gave the team more and played how a big fella should play. Big Kev verses Big Nic? Kev wins hands down.

  • Chris W says:

    Overall a good point against a team who have only lost two in the league so far.
    Mitch did a fairly good job on Ince and Burn played well but he still gives the jitters at times.
    Looking forward to Barnsley as we seem more relaxed and comfortable away from home.
    Just hope Jack Butland don’t do what most players do and play a blinder, if he is still on loan there?

  • andy says:

    Yes I agree that without Zigic Birmingham would not have won the League Cup but without Kevin Phillips we would not have gone any further than Brentford. Zigic lives off that cup success and for a player of his calibre, has failed in the Championship.

  • The Francis Fake says:

    Zigic relies on good service as his movement is obviously not the best due to his size. When he was in the Prem he had much better service as we had better players then, therefore it is a dilemma for LC and how to get the best out of him. Unfortunately, with the players we have we can’t get the best out of him. He is much better player on the floor than most realise and players should play one two’s off him more often than lumping up high balls. Burke’s performances are worrying me and I think he is losing his commitment as his contract runs down. I think he may well go for a small fee in January.

    • mike b says:

      hi all………..spot on mate…………

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think you maybe right about Burke. He’s hardly been at the races all season. He appears to have lost his appetite for the game. But, it took him half the season to pick up last time. Let’s hope he does the same this season. Maybe he needs a week or two on the bench.

  • mark says:

    tbh fair result on saturday………..maybe we can go on a little run 4 points from 2 games if you cannot win or you are having one of those days take the draw…………………

  • mark says:

    staffsblue – absolutely right he does appears a little down on confident shame really nothing like seeing burkey on fire and scoring goals………….

  • mark says:

    another player given lots of flack by fans Novak imo had a excellent game, the damn thing just will not go in the bloody goal for him…………but his work rate, his desire is second to none……

  • mark says:

    Were just surviveing in this league if we loose the likes of burke we will drop.
    We need investment quickly if only to keep what we got.
    Im not a lee clarke fan but hes doing the best he can with hes hands tied.

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