Often Partisan

Centre Halves

Paul Robinson picked up his tenth booking of the season against Swansea City and will now miss the next two games against Derby County and Leicester City. Kyle Bartley is returning from injury and will compete for a spot with Hayden Mullins and Will Packwood but longer term Birmingham City will need to do something about the centre half spot.

I think it was a foregone conclusion Robbo would pick up his tenth booking before the April cutoff – whilst he is still a fairly decent player at this level who puts his body on the line there is no doubting that his lack of pace means he has to on occasion commit more cynical fouls to prevent chances being created – and of course, that means picking up yellow cards more often than not.

I haven’t seen the last few games due to various reasons and for that reason I’m not going to pass my own judgement on the form of either Hayden Mullins or Will Packwood as I can’t. From comments I have seen online Mullins hadn’t done too badly until two mistakes let him down against Yeovil whilst I understand Packwood picked up the man of the match award from the sponsors on Saturday which is surely an indicator that he had a decent game. For whatever reason Mullins has been preferred to Packwood previously and I wonder if Clark will change his mind and maybe bring in Bartley to partner the tall American at the back for Tuesday’s game against the Foxes.

Longer term Blues do need to look at a replacement for Dan Burn and there have been some indications that Clark is close to doing so; mattt who posts on SHA linked a story from France of a possible move for Alassane Toure of RC Lens. The 24-year-old centre back has been at Lens since 2009 and has made 38 league appearances for the Ligue 2 side; however he has only made three appearances this season and his contract expires in June.

Brian Halford also mentions in his match report from the weekend that Clark was looking to bring in a new centre-half by midday today (which would be the cutoff point for a player to be eligible for tomorrow’s game) although the official twitter feed has mentioned that

On the transfer front, LC is hoping for a busy week but says there’s plenty of obstacles to over come and juggling to do with loan signings.

which to my mind is optimistic without going overboard and at least gives some hope that someone may well come in before the end of the window.

Whoever Clark brings in, it’s obviously going to be another settling in period – like Dan Burn and Kyle Bartley both went through in the first part of this season. The hope has to be that that settling in period won’t take that long and Blues can go back to having a more solidly consistent back four; a good defensive base to build upon to hopefully get the team back to winning ways.

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60 Responses to “Centre Halves”

  • DaveBCFC says:

    It would be a great disservice to Will Packwood to bring someone in and throw them straight into the side ahead of him – he had a superb game on Saturday, against Premiership opposition, and looked calm, confident and authoritative. He simply must start our next few games.

    • tmsblues says:

      Couldn’t agree more. A loanee arrival being put straight in ahead of Packwood would be highly demotivating to a lad that’s waited his moment and shows signs of grasping the opportunity. By all means get cover but not on the basis of a guaranteed start each week.!

  • mark says:

    Daniel what ever Clark gets done it certainly must be frustrating for him to get the right blend. maybe lingard still on the cards?// he was continuing his dialogue with Man utd……

  • mark says:

    fully agree with DaveBCFC Will had a superb game clark must continue with this, and he must start on tuesday getting his partnership going with bartley which will give us the height at the back…………most definately…………he deserved MOM IMO

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Remember that Packwood is still getting up to speed following what was a serious injury. Maybe too many games in a short period could set him back so better to introduce him back steadily.

    • clubclassblue says:

      Packwood had quite a few competitive games for Bristol Rovers prior to his return to Blues so he should be nearing full match fitness, and to be honest on Saturday he looked as if he was right on his game. I thought Rasniak (?) showed some nice touches and Reece Brown looks ahead of his years.
      Tough games coming up and it will be a real test for whoever LC goes for at the back. It would be a real boost to get something from these games.

  • TonyE says:

    I hope he can also do something up front where we are struggling, but it will be difficult. Surprised we haven’t tried for Macheda of Utd who I’ve read is available on loan, I think he would be pretty decent at this level.

  • tmsblues says:

    It is a worrying feature of signing young loanees from Prem clubs that there has to be a promise of them playing. Clark’s comment regarding his discussions with Viera recently noted that he had shown him the games in which Rusnak would play! This is also probably the case with Lingard too ie that Clark has to guarantee a certain playing time to help seal the deal. How demotivating this must be for our own youngsters like Packwood, Brown and Gray who have to gain their place on merit rather than by ‘contract’ ! Unfortunately in our position it seems we have little choice but to accept such terms and conditions. We do need squad depth and in addition to a more mature centre half we need a striker but I wouldn’t take Lingard as I don’t think he’s shown sufficient form to be the solution and certainly isn’t worth the guaranteed slot I suspect Moyes will demand.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It’s great that Will Packwood is fit and back playing. For me, he at least deserves a shot at nailing down a place. But, with only Bartley and Robbo as CBs too (both having served suspensions this season) we still need a centre back, at least as cover. Having just 3 doesn’t take into account injuries and suspensions. A 4th centre back is an essential for me.

    • Richard Granfield says:

      I agree. Packwood has the potential to become a first class player. If he realises this, then it will be justice, as he is already a first class man and nobody will deserve it more.

  • Sh!t on the villa says:

    Packwood has been patient for his chances. Both before and after the leg break… This is his time to shine and i would start him for the next 2 games while Robbo is gone with bartley hopefully as his partner.

  • dave mann says:

    well pleased with saturdays performance and packwood was superb along with again
    reece brown who is just taking it all in is stride, again for the second game running we
    dominate possesion have far more chances and yet loose , if only we had someone to
    put our chances away we would be lording the performances, nearly 70% of the game
    we had for the second game in a row and as much as we blab on about needing a
    centre half we need someone to put the ball in the back of the net just as much……..
    two quality momments bony and that was that from swansea, so dissapointed we
    didnt win the game never mind a replay but carry on like that and were have nothing
    to worry about in the remaining 20 gamea we have left this season.KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    same again tommorow but ofcourse bartley in for robinson……is two game suspension
    is a great opportunity for packwood who was very good saturday to push is claim……..
    leicester are flying but were gonna burst there bubble with a morale boosting win………
    i hope.KRO.

    • glosblue says:

      Totally agree. When Robbo returns, we could play a back 3 and play 5 in midfield to include Caddis on the right & Hancox on the left. I know the popular opinion is to leave out Zigic up front but I think he would have had a field day on Saturday with Swansea’s relatively small defence compared with Yeovil.

      • mike b says:

        hi all……….good point about zigic…BUT he has been a naughty boy so he has to be taught a lesson???….but on reflection…(easy after the event)….would we have won with him in….??? and dont forget the amount of defensive headers he has had this last few matches…..mmmmmmmmmmm

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Lee Clark has said on bcfc.com; “I’ve got Tom Adeyemi who had a good 30 minutes against Swansea and Kyle Bartley ready to come back, so that gives us a physical presence again on Tuesday.”

    Wonder who will drop out in midfield?

  • blues4life says:

    What ever happened to Matt Green?

  • sappy sad says:

    .another star in the making is will packwood …most managers
    dream of making their own team together i can see lc. and co
    slowly getting a quality team together as the club regains its
    true metal ..kro

  • Tony says:

    Staffs I saw that about adeyami having a good 30mins saturday, by my reckoning he had 15 mins.
    He should have had 30mins ,we may have got something out of the game if he had ,think maybe Clark realizes he has droped another clanger and is trying to con us .

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Even 15 minutes is good when you’re coming back. Gets rid of a bit of rust. He’s a young fit boy. I don’t think he’ll have a problem starting. If we can get 60 or 70 minutes out of him, that might be enough. Fingers crossed eh?

  • Teej says:

    I hate to sound negative but Robbo is poor to say the least…he is far too slow now!, I have lost count of the amount of goals he’s cost us, like the last two goals for Swansea for instance, he then puts his arms up and looks around for someone else to blame. I am not questioning his heart. Will Packwood shows a lot of promise and more games will bring him on.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      By the same token, Robbo has saved us at least a dozen goals this season with amazingly well-timed tackles and blocks. But, if Bartley and Packwood strike up a good understanding over the next couple of games, he might have a job on his hands getting back in.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Bartley in for Robinson then exactly the same for me. Zigic on the bench for the utterly useless Lovenkrands. I would be very happy with a point tomorrow evening.

  • Chris W says:

    M.O.M. Saturday had to be between Reece Brown and Will Packwood so I was not surprised with Will getting it. As for central partnerships, I can’t see why Bartley and Packwood can fill the void left with Burns return to Fulham. Will looked solid and comfortable, similar to Burn, I reckon he should carry on.
    I watched Mullins over the three games and was not impressed with him at Centre of defence, both he and Robbo were too slow and easily beaten with anything in the air.
    In my opinion, a striker who knows where the net is and can poach goals should be a major concern for LC now.
    With Robbo as you said, it was inevitable he was going to get booked sooner than later, Saturday’s booking was a soft one really, the Swansea player made a meal and was looking to get Robbo a straight red. That is my opinion on it anyway.

  • andy says:

    Will Packwood was excellent on Saturday and the shirt is his to lose really. Am I right in saying that whilst he was on loan with Bristol Rovers he was man of the match on 3 occasions? Good luck to the lad, he deserves his place alongside Bartley now but Blues do need another centre half, as an emergency I would put Zigic in there.

    • mike b says:

      hi all…………andy …i mentioned ziggy as an emergency centre back a few weeks ago but nobody took it up…as i said earlier at corners he has had a good success at clearing headers…..

    • Chris W says:

      I mentioned Ziggy as CB, some laughed, worked with Kenny Burns and can’t be any worse than Mullins. Emergency cover only though.
      On saying that and I might be barking up the wrong tree, I think we may ave seen the last of Ziggy. The Yeovil game was the straw that broke the camels back, he was lazy and didn’t listen to his manager.
      To be honest it will probably be a good thing, against e played some great football and not just kick and run….

  • andy says:

    This is why I suggested Zigic as an emergency centre back because I also believe he is finished as a striker after his awful display against Yeovil. We all talk about his salary so he should earn it in some capacity. If Clark can get Lingard back and he plays alongside the new kid from Man City, Reece Brown and Novak then Zigic is not needed up front.

  • Dave S says:

    Kenny Burns was a centre half we turned into a centre forward, not the other way round.

    • Chris W says:

      Point is it can work both ways, Zig comes back and defends corners etc. only difference he will stay goal side of the halfway line, hasn’t done much being goal side…. 4 goals to date.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Zigic has got the turning circle of an aircraft carrier. He is an asset on defensive set pieces but god help us in general play especially against pace. If it ever happens we know we are in really desperate trouble.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Zigic has got the turning circle of an aircraft carrier. He is an asset on defensive set pieces but god help us in general play especially against pace. If it ever happens we know we are in really desperate trouble.

  • Paul Carter - a lover of BCFC he says:

    I’d like to keep Zigic out for good now. I accept all the arguments as to why he should play but feel there are stronger ones as to why he shouldn’t and to even think of playing someon that uncomitted and lazy at centre back is suicide,

    Bit disappointed in Robbo as it goes. If he’s a leader and a model pro as everybody says then he should not be getting booked to the extent he has, we just can’t afford him to miss games.

    Goes with the territiory to an extent I know. Anyway Lee will sort it all out and here’s hoping for another good showing tomorrow night in better weather.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Will Packwood was immense, in both senses on Saturday, and new boy Albert really showed some great pace and agility, but though we carved open their midfield time and again, there was no-one left to shoot through their defence. No discredit to Novak, but he’s not an instinctive striker such as Swansea had in Bony. It was brave and inspired to bring Bony on after half-time, but even so we didn’t bring on a striker, Lovenkrands, till we were a goal down and with only ten minutes to go. Midfield we were fine, defence crumbled with Robbo’s legs, but our attack was toothless, no-one to fire an accurate snapshot in the melee that was the Swan’s defence.
    What we would give for a Horse or The Force!

    • Shirley Blue says:

      You are correct. Excellent approach play but no cutting edge in and around the penalty area or the game would have been over at half time. Not sure Mr Lovenkrands is the answer though. He has looked anything but the part since he joined us.

  • andy says:

    That cutting edge in front of goal has been missing all season, its why we are where we are in the League. Fortunately no one has hit that rich vain of goalscoring form because that player would have been sold this month for £500,000 plus a bag of crisps!

  • Mike says:

    IMO if the club could do it I’d go and get roger Johnson and Scott Dann

    Poor apart good together

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    In terms of strikers Forsell was a goal scorer but the Horse was more of a target men who could hold up the ball and bring others into play, much the same as Novak. Regarding Johnson and Dan, Johnson has just signed for West Ham and Dan is playing a major part at Blackburn and one other little thing, where do the wages come from even if a) we wanted them and b) they would come back. I think it is taking a long time for people to realise that we simply do not have the money to compete. Immagine how hard it is for LC to find a striker that is efective, available, willing to come, and willing to play for a club in our position. His only quality option is the loan market which I think he plays extremely well.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Johnson is on loan to West Ham until the end of the season… and Norwich are apparently considering a bid for Dann.

    We have so little money, I don’t know about shopping at Poundland…. we’re gonna have to go shoplifting to get anyone in. Still, we have another couple days of the window left, then there’s the loan window.

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    I think you miss the point about Johnson Staffs, he is on loan because Wolves cant afford his wages and regarding Dann we cant compete financially wiith teams 2 leagues below us so forget challenging the likes of Norwich! This is where a really good scouting and management team come into their own, anyone can sign £40m players who are proven at the highest level but the skill comes when you are trying to build a team when you have no finances and your own future and that of your club are uncertain. Irrespective of what LC earns I admire his loyalty and application. All players and managers command high salaries and LC isnt going to come to work for £100 per week, people using his salary as a stick to beat him with are short on legitimate reasons to berate him.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I did get your point Steve, that’s why I said, “We have so little money, I don’t know about shopping at Poundland…. we’re gonna have to go shoplifting to get anyone in.”

      Johnson isn’t going to come here for less than he’s getting now… and Dann is most likely headed for the premier anyway. Both, out of our league.

      • mike b says:

        hi all….staffs blue…brilliant quip…!!!! really made me giggle….can we have more funnies to lighten our mood….??? please…….

        from..mike. b. zigic.
        c/o benefit street………….

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If we’re going to get a centre back in, it will most likely be someone like Burn.. an untired/untested premier league reserve.

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    To be honest Staffs I like the excitement of seeing untried raw talent, players who are playing for their futures and not spoilt and preened premaddonas who feel that the game owes them a living. I personally have no beef with Zigic, the people that sign the contract on behalf of the club should shoulder that responsibility. It seems that only a cash crisis of the worst kind has finally brought our little club back to reality. Not completey a bad thing in my opinion

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Agree with all that.

      I don’t really care one way or t’other about Zigic anymore. I just look forward to the end of the season. Only beef I’ve ever had with him, is that, as a professional sportsman earning the money he does, I would have hoped he’d be a bit more grateful for the fee, the wages and the first team place he’s enjoyed the past few years… and put a bit more effort in. Still, that’s his choice, as it’s Lee Clark’s choice to pick the side he feels will give him the most.

    • Royalblue says:

      Well I do have a problem with Zigic, not because of his contract terms ( although I’m sure we could get 2 or 3 decent players with what we pay him every week) but for his total lack of effort when he plays. Anyone who argues otherwise clearly doesn’t watch us on a regular basis,
      As for suggestions he could do a job at centre half is just laughable.
      We played well against Swansea precisely because Zigic didn’t play and that was not the first time so
      Personally I hope he never plays for us again.
      Lovenkrands gets a lot of stick but he only gets 10 mins here and there so I think some of it is a bit unfair.

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    Royal Blue, I didn’t say that I didnt have a problem with his ability or contribution just his contract, although he did score an historic goal for us. As far as him playing centre half? Give me a break, I’d do better there!

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    We should always get 100% from a player irrespective of whether he earns £50 or £50000 LC should make his decision of selection due to footballing reasons and nothing else.

    • Chris W says:

      I believe LC does and in reality Zigic has not been performing to a standard that is acceptable to him, the team or the supporters.
      I think that LC is being very polite after the scenario following last seasons fallout.
      One thing I like about LC, everything is done with the best interests at heart for BCFC.

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