Often Partisan

Eighth Away Win Takes Blues Eight Points Clear

Birmingham City beat Millwall 3-2 last night to record their eighth away league win of the season putting them eight points clear of the relegation zone once more. Goals from Jordon Ibe, Andy Shinnie and Nikola Zigic secured the points despite a late penalty awarded to Millwall.

Suffice it to say, I’m a lot happier with the league table this morning. There is no doubt in my mind that was a huge match that Blues really had to win and  in doing so the pressure is off the team a little bit again. Blues face another tough home match at the weekend against Bournemouth – who thumped Leeds 4-1 and are not far off the playoff picture in 10th – before a run of three away matches starting with 20th placed Doncaster.

I’ve seen talk this morning of how many points will be needed to avoid relegation, and having spectacularly underestimated how well teams at the bottom can do form-wise in the past I’m reluctant to go with the optimists who think two wins will be enough. In past seasons a benchmark figure of 50 has been considered the points total required to stay up – although Peterborough United were unlucky enough to go down with 54 last year – which would give what I think is a more conservative estimate of ten points needed from eight games. I don’t like looking too far in advance but I would have to confess I think if Blues can take 4 points (draw against Bournemouth and win against Doncaster) from the next two games, then they will have enough in the tank to keep them in the Championship next year.

There are concerns though. Will Packwood missed last night with an injury to his right hamstring – there has been no word on how severe it is but it stretches defensive permutations somewhat and I think we have to hope it’s nothing more than a twinge. Without Packwood, Blues have two fit senior centre-backs (Aaron Martin and Paul Robinson) plus Jonathan Spector who can fill in there and one left back (Tyler Blackett) currently to call upon – and Robbo is two bookings away from a three match ban. I really hope we don’t go into the last few games of the season having to call on James Fry or Nathaniel Kelly to fill in especially if we desperately need the points.

From a positive point of view though, having read Colin Tattum’s match report it appears that the side played well; particularly in attack. Andy Shinnie has come in for some stick recently but hopefully his goal will give him some confidence; Jordon Ibe scored his first goal at this level and the big man Nikola Zigic once again proved how much he loves to wind up Millwall fans and players. If we can keep them all firing then we have a chance – as much as we can’t keep a clean sheet if we carry on scoring goals we’re always in with a chance of sneaking results here and there.

On a side note, Sky’s Chris Skudder noted from the Millwall boardroom last night that Panos Pavlakis told him that BIH are looking to sell the club – although the price mentioned (£31M) seems to be considered too high by most fans on messageboards. As much as it is mentioned that Blues have no debt and training ground and St Andrew’s as assets I’m a little confused. While the loan of £15M from Carson has been novated, according to the last accounts (BCFC year ending 2013) there was a debt of £3.8M to BIH – has this been paid off? From a pedantic point of view while Blues have developed Wast Hills they don’t own it – it’s on a 99 year lease from the University of Birmingham. Tom Ross states in his Birmingham Mail column today that he had a buyer online willing to pay £15M down – is that a more sensible price?

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