Often Partisan


Birmingham City completed the signing on loan of Albert Rusnak on Tuesday to bolster their attacking midfield options in the wake of Jesse Lingard’s non-return from Manchester United. However, Rusnak is the eleventh player to be considered a midfielder to have signed in Lee Clark’s 18 month reign. Are we signing the right players?

Before I say anything further I will confirm that I recognise that Clark is hamstrung not just in financial terms in who he can sign but also in what he can potentially offer to players coming in. It’s not just a case of who Blues can afford but who will come to a club in turmoil such as ourselves and as such this massively limits the players that Clark can bring in.

However, I’m concerned that he seems to have a type of player he signs. In this transfer window he has managed to secure the short-term contract for Brian Howard, who made his debut in the “attacking three” against Yeovil and the loan signing of Albert Rusnak who is described as being able to play “the number 10 role”, with departures being the loan returns of Dan Burn, Jesse Lingard and Aaron Mclean. As it stands until it’s confirmed Peter Lovenkrands is back to fitness Blues have two fit and eligible strikers for the cup game – in Nikola Zigic and Lee Novak – and it’s worth noting Novak can’t play up front on his own.

Akwasi Asante has been injured for most of this season and sadly I think we have to write him off, I don’t think he will ever play for us again. The aforementioned Peter Lovenkrands is injured but has been poor when he has played, Reece Hales is on trial at Notts County (but is cup-tied anyway having played for Worcester City in a previous round) and after Hales we’re in the realms of the u18s and I will admit I can’t even be sure who plays up front for the academy side this year.

It’s all well and good ensuring that there is creativity in the side – and I think a bit of pace, guile and trickery has been needed – but we also need someone who can and will put the ball in the net on a not too infrequent basis. I’m not stupid enough to insist we sign a 10 goal a season striker let alone 20 cos we can’t afford it – I know Blues are having to look at raw talent. Players like Benik Afobe, who has returned from eight months out injured and is looking to restart his Arsenal and England u21 career, and has played at this level for Bolton, Reading and Millwall. Admittedly he’s only scored two league goals at this level but he is a proper striker and could be played as such – and as much as Blues play 4-2-3-1 we need alternatives for when it doesn’t work.

Blues play Swansea this weekend in the cup and like the league cup game I’ve already written it off. If we win, that’s brilliant but I won’t lose any sleep if we lose because I expect it. I would have liked to have seen Clark experiment a little but with 23 fit/eligible players at the time of writing I can’t see it being massively possible. If Blues are to get anything out of the second half of the season Clark needs to get the most out of his squad that he can – and it worries me that signing more and more midfielders isn’t going to do that.

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76 Responses to “Overload”

  • Chris hart says:

    Brian halford tweeted lovenkrands is back in training along with adeyemi and should be fit for Saturday

  • Dave1875 says:

    Easier said than done sitting writing something off the top of the head and throwing in names. It’s quite simple really that Clark cannot afford strikers. obviously the right ones aren’t available for what we can afford wages and or don’t want to come. Thanks Yeung and Pannu for putting us in this ridiculous situation. and it is funny that everyone slaughters Clark after one defeat by Yeovil and didn’t give him any credit for a 10 game unbeaten run with a team that is over achieving as it is

    • John says:

      Quite right Dave, everything that is wrong at BCFC,is the result of total incompetence by Yeung and Pannu. The club was in the black financially,when they took over,now the club is broke. We haven’t been able to BUY players,for some time,so where has the money gone ? The published club accounts,stated that one director,was paid £680,000. It would appear,there was never any intention,of backing or promoting BCFC and as a result the club is now in freefall.

  • Kazakblue says:

    Sadly I wonder what ever happened to out and out strikers, where in the world would you find the Hattons, Latchford, Vincent, Bridges or Sumerhill to name but a few these days, OK, tell me it was a different era, I know that for a fact, but they graced the Blue and White shirt with skill and pride every game they played.

  • Kyle says:

    Dudka and Ambrose have also moved on…
    So it’s three out (Lingard, Dudka, and Ambrose), and two in (Howard and Rusnak)… Not “overload” at all, really.
    Burn out, and Packwood in. Another defender would help though.

    A centre forward is an absolute must.

  • SteveBCFC says:

    When he took charge of Blues, I made a point of visiting the main Huddersfield Town forum and asking what we could expect.

    Almost every single post said the same three things.

    1) He will make some baffling tactical decisions and should be an assistant and not a manager.
    2) He will get a LOT of draws and draw games you should be winning.
    3) He will sign a LOT of midfielders you simply don’t need.

    It seems as if they were right on all three so far.

  • JohnR200 says:

    Rusnak is alike for like replacement for Lingard no problem there for me. Of course we need a strikerc but you said it yourself where do we get one from and one we can afford .

  • Chris W says:

    It shows what a sorry state we are in when Bradford City can afford to pay a fee for McLean and we are scraping around for freebees.
    Hopefully, Rusnak will be as good if not better than Lingard, but LC must be looking for a striker and a central defender if he isn’t going to use Packwood. Which bears the question, why is LC not using Packwood, he got stripped on Saturday but not used?
    The Swansea game is probably the last chance for LC to be able to experiment before the long second half of the season and run in.
    Time for players like Lovenkrands to stand up and show they have BCFC at heart and are not on a meal ticket.

    • Richard Granfield says:

      Bradford City bought McLean with the money they received for Naki Wells from Huddersfield.

      • Chris W says:

        Point I am making is we can’t afford even loans, we are the second city and regarded as a fairly big club, with potential.
        We definitely use to be, but now we are scrapping round for scraps.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          To be fair Chris, most, or all, of the players we’ve brought in on loan class us as a big club. If you listen to the interviews, that’s one of the attractions for them. The other being Lee Clark.

          But, as you rightly say, it all comes down to whether we have to fork out any fees. It’s that black and white unfortunately.

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        McLean was no great shakes for us

  • Paul Carter - a lover of BCFC he says:

    I agree to an extent with the midfield comment but as we have so many kids about us you can’t keep playing them so have to have options. Strikers? Well it’s tough isnt it? Wes Thomas was a trier but never a regular goalscorers same as Lingard and Maclean. You need a massive stroke of luck to sign a successful goalscorer even more so in our position. We won’t see any improvement up front unless we get luckily. The very best on loan striker for Blues? I give you Mikael Forsell. Was it 19 in one season in the prem for us? A signing I’ll never forget.

    • bluenose08 says:

      Paul I totally agree with you did you see the back-heel assists he did on you tube which shows he hasn’t lost his touch we should get him back now !!!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    The strikers we have at the club haven’t really been pulling up any trees in the goals department and, although it would be nice to find one who would regularly find the back of the net, the likelyhood of that happening is very slim. Also, one of our biggest drawbacks this season has been the lack of quality in the final third. Our passing and crossing has been sub-standard on too many occasions, meaning the strikers don’t have a whole lot to feed off. As everyone knows, a striker is only as good as the service he gets.

    That’s why, I think that maybe Clark is thinking of changing things in the final third. He’s probably trying to get a bit more creativity in and around the box… to create better opportunities for goals and to have better ball retention. How many goals have we conceded this season, just because we gave the ball away in poor areas? If Clark can improve that part of our game, it will take a lot of pressure off both the strikers and the defence.

    Saying that, we need a centre back in no matter what.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    To me the situation is simple. It is impossible for LC to sign a striker who is better than he already has given the resource available. It’s OK naming strikers but the reality of signing them under the current regime is remote.
    So LC can improve things by helping the striker he has, any striker needs good quality service from midfield i.e. players who can press up the pitch and maybe get a few goals and take opposing players with them so that strikers have more space. At the moment it is easy for the opposition defence to marshal our strikers as the midfield is weak, this is what happened at Yeovil.
    So the signing of Howard (who will improve) and Rusnak for me are obvious as they improve the teams attacking potential. Can’t see us signing a better (loan) striker unless the owning club stumps up the wages and the player is happy for a short term striker.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Clark collected midfielders for fun at #HUFC and is repeating this failed policy here at #BCFC

    • StaffsBlue says:

      If a 42-match unbeaten run is classed as failure… well, I’ll take that failure tomorrow.

      • SteveBCFC says:

        Even Huddersfield Town fans will tell you the unbeaten run was overhyped. It consisted mainly of draws that they snatched from the jaws of victory.

        Drawing 30 games gives you the same number of points as winning 10 and losing 20…they cried out for positive football to go for broke and instead had the same awful tactical decisions we’re suffering.

        You could draw every single game in the season and get relegated very easily!

      • jasom says:

        Staffs,lots of draws in that unbeaten run against sides in the bottom half of league 1…….sounds familiar doesn’t it mate!!! Still think Clarke is doing a half decent job considering…….KRO!

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Fair enough… but they still got promoted a few weeks later with the same squad. Maybe his tactics aren’t always spot on, but his eye for a good young player is.

    • Dino Tiltoni says:

      nobody collected midfielders like Steve Bruce. We had a whole team of them!

    • bluenoseb says:

      Have to agree with this on one of the blues forums when we appointed clark there were quotes from a huddersfeild forum that said he would just sign constant midfeilders when other areas needed strengthen more. To be fair i dont know how many CM clark has used in his reign but just of the top of my head mullins ambrose were both bought in as midfeilders and completly flopped we’ve has short term ones in diop and dudka who contributed nothing. And im sure there be more who have come and gone and to be honest the udders fans did say the same about midfeilders when he did have miney to spend so think it would be the same no matter what the finances were like. Centre half and another striker are a must, shows how far weve fell in the shit when our relegation rivals (doncaster and milwall) below us can go an loan a proven striker at this level (sharp and campbell) which could be the difference to staying up, and with our squad having been decimated in January and other teams towards the bottom strengthening it doesnt bode well for us for the rest of the season.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I still fancy a 4-5-1, or as was mooted yesterday, a 4-1-4-1. I don’t see the point in playing 2 strikers who are both firing blanks. Go with 1 striker and give him plenty of support. I like the idea of a Burke, Adeyemi, Rusnak, Howard, Ferguson midfield.

  • pierre says:

    i think we are getting a reputation as a good feeder club for the premierships up and coming stars

  • mark says:

    Daniel how can you write off a FA cup game irrelevant who ever the opposition is, as Man utd found
    out yesterday…………..bet moyes wished he was still in L cup………………
    From the reports out now clark definately up for the challenge………..
    was you of the same opinion when we played swans in L.Cup earlier…..
    This is excellent distraction to have a right go at premiership team……..

  • dave mann says:

    i agree mark, ime looking forward to saturday because its a no loose situation for us really
    though some would argue we could do with the money that comes with a good cup run and
    its also a good distraction from the league. Staying in this league and finishing as high as
    possible is our main aim ofcourse but we beat them in the league cup and there main aim
    is to stay in the premiership so whos to say we cant do it again……..ide also like to say
    well done to blues regarding the ticket prices, lets hope we get a desent crowd but ime
    not expecting many more than 15,000 at best but come on you blues and KRO.

  • Jaffa says:

    The window isn’t shut yet.So who know’s,Clarkey still might bring a striker in.

  • sappy dsd says:

    …i can see clarkys point of view .in the fact that most good young
    strikers are not going to put theirselves out for peanuts ..but with
    the cup game ccoming up i thought we could get one in ..the trouble
    with having midfield players acting as strikers is they do not
    always think automatically like a striker and positionally chances
    go begging …lets hope lc can get one…kro

  • dave mann says:

    as far as goalscoring midfield players go frank lampard is an exeption and the premierships
    greatest ever and unfortunetley we dont and never ever will have anyone like him in my
    lifetime or anybody elses, if he had played as an out and out forward he wouldnt have
    scored as many in my opinion but wasted by england and never as been given the position
    he warranted….if only we had someone half as good as he his we would be pushing for
    the playoffs no danger.KRO.

  • Tony says:

    Bloody hell Clarks just been on the blower, wants to know If I still have my pumas lol, had to tell I dont want to play for him.

  • Kazakblue says:

    How about a punt for young Michael Ngoo, being released by Liverpool ?? A reasonable young striker, highly thought of at Liverpool, but has no chance of getting in the team with the forwards they have.

  • dave mann says:

    bryan hughes and robbie savage are blues legends but the point ime making is they werent
    prolific goalscorers and thats what were missing, somebody who will get us 15 goals from
    midfield…..but saying that we havent got a striker who can get that amount so were have to
    battle on as we are……..what robbie savage said to get out of blues was not good but you
    cant hate him for what he gave blues 100% every game and a proper legend…i for one will
    always love him, but then so does the mrs.KRO.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Only striker we’ve had that could reach double figures in recent years, has now left. Available again I think.

  • Evesham blue says:

    Robbo and Mullins are too short and slow to play both. I am mystified by not playing Packwood and Robbo. Mullins won’t be here next year. When is Bartley back?

    I think we are limited with what we have. Novak,zigic and Loverkrands all crap in front of goal.

    If you go like for like then another striker and a centre back are the min requirements just to bolster the squad.

    I am seriously worried about next years squad as well. We could have Novak as our only recognised striker and Packwood as our only recognised CB before loans.That will be one hell of a squad rebuilding exercise for LC

    With this in mind – Should LC be bedding in Packwood now?

    It seems we are just a loan player development team for the big boys.

  • fletch says:

    if and it’s a big if ,we could clear the decks of zigic lovenkrands mullins doyle …. all must be high earners there would be room to manouvere… until then the struggle will go on … don;t blame clarkehe never signed them !!!!….. i think clarkes doing a great job with what he’s got …. please god let this carson trial be over soon !

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Bartley’s ready to play, but can’t face his parent club on Saturday, but he will be back for Leicester.

    Must agree on Packwood. I’m bemused. I always wonder why journalists don’t ask these kind of questions when they interview a manager. How hard is it to ask “Mr Clark, why aren’t you playing Will Packwood?” or “Lee, can you please enlighten us on why Scott Allen has faded from the first team squad?” Not too difficult is it?

    • Chris W says:

      I think LC has answered the Scott Allen question, it is down to his attitude.
      We know that LC is a stickler for asking nothing short of 100% both on the pitch and training.
      Will Packwood is a totally mystery though, he calls him back from a loan so he was match fit, he has him on the bench, so his attitude must be right and against Yeovil he even got stripped, but still not used. ???
      Though I loved Robbie for his commitment, I will never forgive him for lying to get a move to Blackburn and if we are looking at midfielders, I’d like to see Barry Ferguson back, he popped up with a goal or two.

  • edd77 says:

    Sheff wed Wickham, Barnsley proschwitz, Doncaster sharp and Yeovil miller all now have strikers to try to keep them up ,I still cant believe we picked up 1 point from home games against Barnsley n Yeovil, it’s nail biting time me thinks

  • ForevertheOptimist says:

    We need a £60k a week international striker to really take the championship by storm. …..oh ..hold on a minute……

  • dave mann says:

    scott allans lazy and packwoods not trusted is propably the answers you would get from
    lee clark if asked those questions.KRO.

  • Andy J says:

    I think Clark will be fighting over the scraps and it will be probably late on the final day that we might be able to bring a striker in. does the loan window remain open after the deadline passes as in August? or is it shut proper after the 31st Jan?

  • Andy J says:

    I would imagine something has happened behind the scenes with Scott Allan for him to have fallen out of the picture so drastically, I cannot imagine it is simply he is not doing it in training. Some of the best players are/were poor trainers. For Clark to have not given a direct reason for his ommision for me says it is something else methinks….. Packwood had a serious injury, he has had a brief spell at Bristol Rovers where he performed admirably so only thing i can think as a reason he is not being used is because he is A. not rated or B. the player is not yet ready physically for the Championship after his injury?

    The Scott Allan situation is so frustrating though…

  • DoctorD says:

    Listen, Sainsbury’s Basics tomatoes are half the price of their main brand, but just as good. Like all teams, we have poured good money down the toilet in past transfer windows.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Great to see us loaning players from the top teams in the premier league like man city instead of the mediocre middle of the table teams like man utd.

  • dave mann says:

    like your style jazzy786, man utd are struggling and ime hearing rumoure that mata is having
    problems with signing is contract at man u because the pens are crap..bum.bum, seriously
    though lee clark is not doing is reputation no harm the way hes brought the premier loan boys
    through….they wont let us have them back will they sowere now have a reputation for being
    the birmingham city finishing school for young talented premiership players…nice one.KRO.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Jazzy and dave… good humour lads. :-))

      Dave, do you remember when Burnley used to have that reputation in the 60s and 70s? Some brilliant players came out of their acadamy.

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        Brian Flynn, Ralph Coates, Leighton James er … Vince Overson

        • StaffsBlue says:

          A bit before that.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I meant, a bit before that too. Including John Connelly, Martin Dobson, Alex Elder, Willie Irvine, Steve Kindon, Andy Lochhead, Willie Morgan, Keith Newton, Dave Thomas. Ralph Coates was maybe the stand-out name.

          • Chris W says:

            Remember Steve Kindon from his Wolves days, John Connelly (Man U) and Andy Lockhead (The Vile).
            My mate from the Boro has said Seb Hines was a promising prospect until his injury. He reckons he never really recovered his form but has been reliable when he has played, pretty good in the air.
            If he is available has to be worth trying, better than we have and extra cover if needed.

        • Bluenosesol says:

          I was in the Legends Lounge at White Hart Lane when we beat spurs 3-1 in the league cup. Ralph Coates was the legend for that game. During dinner he took the pi** out of me for having the nerve to wear my Blues Polo shirt and everyone giggled when he said I should be prepared for a thrashing. After the game he apologised and brought me over a bottle of champers. A true legend! KRO

  • stevvo says:

    saw asante driving home towards city centre in his big 63 plate merc…how the hell can someone his age own that when he hardly/never ever plays!!

  • StevieW says:

    I think the bottom line is we have run out of players that can make a difference and LC cant get any in that will make a difference.

    And there is no cavalry coming over the hill any time soon.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    One reason we are not buying is its wasted money from BIH’s pov because they can’t recover it is a higher selling price/valuation. On the contrary it could appear to make the club worth less

  • andy says:

    Yes Birmingham need a striker, who doesn’t? The fact of football is that games are won or lost in the midfield.

  • Gary says:

    Just been reading a rumour site & it said Huddersfield want randolf & we we are after a defender from borough called seb Hines.

  • Gary says:

    Sorry that’s middlesborough .

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Not sure about Hines. Was very well thought of earlier in his career. Played for England at the younger levels. Only 60+ games at the age of 25.. but suffered a bad injury a few years ago. At 6’2″ he’s the right height. Could be worth a punt maybe.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Rhys Murphy – Dagenham??

  • Andy J says:

    Seb Hines not a bad shout, knows the division well, would be a decent signing imo

  • bluenoserob says:

    if its a fact of football that games are won in midfield , how is that we lost against yeovil , we bossed the midfield and made loads of chances , we just havnt got a clue infront of goal , just my opinion.

  • bluenoserob says:

    if its a fact of football that games are won in midfield , how is that we lost against yeovil , we bossed the midfield and made loads of chances , we just havnt got a clue infront of goal , just my opinion.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    We have a weak defence (much weaker now that Burn has gone) and a weaker strike force. Every team knows we can’t score, so they can risk a weaker defence whilst overloading our midfield. If they have strikers who can find the net, the result is a foregone conclusion. Doesn’t matter if you have a good midfield if a long ball over or a local superiority in numbers cancels it out – as Clark is finding to his cost.
    His solution? Strengthen the midfield!

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