Often Partisan

Looking Up

Two goals from Federico Macheda helped Birmingham come back from 1-0 half time deficit against Doncaster Rovers on Saturday to win 3-1, lifting the Blues up to 18th place, seven points clear of the bottom three.

Once again in an away crunch game, Blues came up trumps and pulled off the result needed to get themselves out of trouble. From talking to people at the game it seemed the clichéd game of two halves; there was a lot of talk from people who I’d class in the “diehard fan” category that Blues looked certs for relegation on the first half performance and yet in the second half Blues seized the initiative, seized on mistakes made by the Doncaster defence and got the goals needed for the win – only the second time in twenty-six games that Blues have come back from behind to take three points.

Lee Clark has talked about how he’s not sure what to do in the game against Middlesbrough – whether to mix it up, to go with the team that started the game on Saturday or the team that finished it. I actually feel for him; I think he’s between a rock and a hard place in that no matter what he does, if the team doesn’t perform he’s going to get the criticism for “doing the wrong thing”. If he picks the team that finished the game against Doncaster and they struggle against the Smoggies, he’ll be accused of not looking at the opposition properly; change things around and struggle and he’ll be accused of tinkering.

I think whatever team Clark does decide to go with, he needs the players to step up in the manner that they did in the second half against Doncaster. I think we have seen this season that when they all function as they should, we have a team that is easily capable of competing in this division. The problem is that the squad is inconsistent – due to the limited nature and inexperience of many players – and as such mistakes have cost the team dearly when looking for points, particularly at home.

Having got it so spectacularly wrong when Blues were relegated from the top flight I’m not a fan of using stats to work out how many points we need to stay up; I certainly don’t believe we’re absolutely safe just yet. I think we need another seven points from our remaining six games – not the easiest of feats when you take into account that Blues have taken just 10 from their last 30 available. If Blues can get another point at the Riverside then I think it’ll be another step closer; three points could see us breathing down the neck of Huddersfield and Leeds – with the latter having lost seven of their last eight games and the last four in a row leaving them in freefall in the division – and bringing more teams into the mix is only going to be in our favour. If we can continue looking up the table and making a move on those in front of us we’ll be fine.

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