Often Partisan

Mullins to the Rescue

Hayden Mullins has been recalled from his loan spell with League One side Notts County and will come straight back into the squad for tomorrow’s final home game of the season against Wigan Athletic. Mullins, who turned 35 at the end of last month made sixteen appearances on loan for the Magpies, scoring once.

I have to admit, this is one that has puzzled me. Not because I think it’s the wrong thing to do – but the timing of it. I’d long assumed that we had no recall clause on his loan and Mullins was gone for the duration; now I know that isn’t true I wonder why the hell we didn’t recall him as Robinson neared suspension, let alone picked up his third ban of the season.

It also makes a mockery of Clark’s talk about wanting to “not rely on loan players” when he had a player contracted to the club he could have recalled as things fell apart – even as cover. We all knew Blues lacked experience – particularly in defence so why has it taken this long to realise that we have an experienced player who can play in that position potentially available to us?

The only conclusion I can come to sadly is this is more of Clark thrashing around in the dark for the answer to Blues’ miserable home form. I think this is a move of desperation rather than one of reasoned judgement; I don’t think it’s down to Thorpe’s injury as much as it is Clark thinking that he’s got to try something else as no one seems to have done the job he wants in the centre of defence – and more worryingly, there is an absolute lack of leadership on the pitch.

I think the big question is whether Mullins will start on Tuesday in place of Thorpe, and who he will partner. Aaron Martin has been sat on the bench and with Robbo suspended is our most experienced natural centre back (22 appearances in the Championship, 44 in the League, 58 in all including Conference National). If Martin doesn’t get given a run – which seemed crazy bearing in mind Leeds have 6’6 striker Matt Smith on Saturday and Jonathan Spector (6′) got the nod over Martin (6’3) – then I think Martin’s chances of a longer term contract at Blues remain severely in the balance.

I really hope that this is the piece in the jigsaw that works for Clark but I have got to the point where I don’t believe it will – and I don’t believe anything Clark will do will work for us. I admire Clark’s passion and his work ethic but I think his tactical nous has been shown up and I think he has struggled this season – even more so without his two older hands as assistants. I was talking to a bluenose football correspondent at the weekend who said that he sees Clark more as an assistant manager type – someone who can do all the donkey work in the background, watch the reserve and academy games and support a more experienced manager rather than be the man in the hot seat – and I have to say I agree.

I guess time will tell; Wigan have never won at St Andrew’s and tomorrow would not be a good time for them to start. If we can pick up a victory then safety is very much in our own hands, if not pretty much assured. I hope Mullins can do whatever is needed to ensure we get those three points – but I’m expecting nothing.

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40 Responses to “Mullins to the Rescue”

  • fingles says:

    As you suggest to believe there is any logic to anything Clark does is unlikely.If,as I expect, he goes for Spector and Mullins as centre backs will will not only have the shortest pairing, but also the slowest.

    I fear the worst.

    Also,surely Burke’s time is up.He has become a liabilty not an asset.

    • Paul Oakley says:

      Agree about Burke. No wonder Robinson is moaning about winning anything with loanees when Elliot and Mullins are out on loan. Caddis, Reilly and Huws are too lightweight.

  • Kaje says:

    I hope Packwood starts, he has been pushed out of the side unfairly – and despite looking strong and stoic at centre half whenever he’s brought on from the bench, he still isn’t picked to start. He is one of our strongest centre halves and needs to be used – simple as. Hayden Mullins isn’t a central defender by any stretch of the imagination.

  • Mezz says:

    This is absolutely shocking management. Mullins to play deep defensive Mid I can understand if we are major short. However this clueless fool will play him at CB you can see it now!

  • teejay says:

    absolute disbelief its a comedy show what a pathetic season no idea we are doomed gobsmacked kro

  • DoctorD says:

    You’re being far too kind to Clark to refer to his “jigsaw” — that suggests someone with a coherent picture who’s just looking for the right pieces to be bolted together.

    If you’re going to use a game analogy, it’s more like someone who’s staring defeat in the face a few moves before the end of a game of Scrabble, doesn’t like his tiles so puts them all back in his bag and gambles on some better ones coming out. It doesn’t usually work.

    If I can stretch this analogy a bit further, there probably is a coherent word to be made from his Scrabble tiles, the poor guy’s just too thick to see it.

  • Art says:

    Just thinking about Clark and the damage he’s done to the playing side of the club makes me very angry.So despite his “knee jerk management style”I sincerely hope he gets it right on Tuesday evening and we seal our championship status.

    Come on LC -embrace the moment!

    Get us a victory!

  • DaveM says:

    I have an image of PP sitting in HK, counting his money and not caring at all, whilst the board members of BIHL suddenly realise that they’re not going to make as much as they thought if we go down. Added to all this a manager who sadly seems to have no idea what he’s doing, but got the job because nobody credible wanted it, and a second rate team, and I have to confess that I can’t recall feeling so depressed over our future, both on the pitch and off it. Could somebody please say something positive to ease my gloom? KRO

    • DoctorD says:

      Um, we will probably win more than 2 home game in League One next year. Feeling better?

    • NickyWicky says:

      It’s not the team that’s second rate it’s the manager. He hasn’t a clue how to build a defence,and the build up play is not that good either. the only good thing you can say is that they score a lot of goals nearly as many as they concede!

  • Andrew Allen says:

    To think that 2 players LC effectively discarded (Muliins and Allan) might now play a central role in the 2 games that decide our fate sums up how far Clark is from knowing what his team is. I know they’re professionals, but it must be hard as a player to suddenly be thrown back in like that. It reminds me of Matt Derbyshire coming on against Spurs the day we were relegated under Mcleish.

    I hope Martin gets his chance, he did little wrong when he played (including in our clean sheet win at Charlton) and what he did show was the ability to play a decent forward pass.

    Who know’s though, I might bring my boots for the hope of being player 51.

    • Kaje says:

      Lee Clark discarded Mullins because he was terrible, he was almost an ever present previously under Clark but had become a little bit of a laughing stock amongst the St. Andrew’s faithful.

  • A Hawkins says:

    To me it feels as if Lee Clark is desperate for some kind of spark and will just about try anything. I really feel he has lost the dressing room support and is now clutching at straws. We are going down this season and Lee knows it. I hate jumping on the bandwagon of managers of being sacked and to be fair to Lee, it was a impossible job when you consider the financial constraints he had to deal with. It needs somebody who has vast experience of working in lower leagues and also able to snap up bargains.
    The days of playing in lower leagues I thawt had gone but it’s amazing how quick they creep up on you

  • Just another case of Clark trying his hardest but not having much of a clue. (If only Pannu would try his hardest for us – he just seems to only have a clue for his bank balance!)
    I remember one of Mullins’ last games for us. I had a seat right on the touchline and seeing and listening to Mullins’ coaching and encouraging of the younger players was impressive. We really could have done with him during the last month or two. Even with his diminished ability his presence would have been like Robbo’s.

  • Chris W says:

    Didn’t
    Mullins fall into Clark’s bad books over his work ethic and commitment?
    One man is not going to change the apathy that has descended on the team. Very
    few on Saturday gave 100% for the cause, especially 2nd half; certain players
    lost the ball and just gave up. Burke was ineffectual, got one-maybe two decent
    crosses in and one half-hearted shot, not completely his fault, he just does
    not have the pace and teams know how to snub him out and kill any threat we
    have. We need to be able to attack down both flanks not just one, we have to
    have options coming through from midfield, Huws is creative but is having to
    drop deeper to get the ball.
    Away from home we play higher up the park, first half against Leeds we started
    in the same vain and Leeds were back peddling all the time.
    Mullins to play in front of a back three allowing both Adeyemi
    and Huws to attack with Burke and Ibe on both flanks whipping balls in for
    Macheda/Novak/Zigic, 1-3-1-2-2-2.
    Randolph, Caddis, Mullins Martin, Hancox,
    Burke, Adeyemi, Huws, Ibe
    Macheda/Zigic/Novak (2 from 3) with Spector, Shinnie, Novak or Zigic on the bench
    Maybe like Clark I am clutching at straws but from the squad we have I don’t see many other options, we cannot afford to sit back and let Wigan run at us, we have to attack and attack from the high-line. This is Blues OK Corral, we have to score first and then kill them off. Every player, whoever plays, has to be prepared to give
    110% and then more, there will be no hiding on Tuesday.
    KRO+DNM

  • griptoin says:

    My worry is this. How committed to the cause will Mullins be, knowing he’s going to be released at the end of the season whether Blues go down or not?

    This is the dilemma we face by picking any of the loanees or out-of-contract players.

    The likes of Packwood will care more as they are here in the future (or that should be the case, you never know these days with the mentality of modern footballers).

  • Rich P says:

    I suppose it could be is a finance thing – if Notts County were paying Hayden’s wages then recalling him may have been left as “in emergency only” to keep cost off the books

  • tmsblues says:

    Just when you thought you’d seen it all LC does it again. He’s flailing around even more now! With Mullins back he can now play a team of contracted players in their rightful positions (some chance). I think Martin should start at centre back but I suspect it will be Mullins who’s an old head but not good in the air and with the old head goes old legs too. Anyhow it looks like they’ll all have 24 hours to strike up a remarkable playing partnership right across the team. Steve Watson will take his boots I guess cos anyone could get the call !! As for records and Wigan without a win at Stans well we’ve helped so many clubs out of such bad streaks I’m sure we can do it again under the astute leadership of Clark.

  • Quaggerz says:

    The horrifying prospect of being relegated to league one, with virtually no playing staff is something I can not bare to see. I’m no religious man but please any god or superior being that can help us, please do!

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Mullins will probably be played at centre forward, ?. I read to think what the team selection will actually be, !!.
    I fully agree with your comments Dan, Why wait until the death, [ NO OMEN intended ], before recalling an experienced player, ??.

    • Chris W says:

      I heard Doyle was up front, Mullins in goal and Randolph Centre half…
      Couldn’t do any worse, maybe if we asked Wigan what team they would like to play against might give LC a hint into who not to play…
      KRO+DNM

      • Oldbluenose says:

        Sorry Chris W, I was doing a Lee Clark, and forgetting the Mighty Doyle at C/fwrd,, and I admit to another error mate, — Randolph at C/half, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Great move in recalling Mullins. I suggested this a week or so ago on this forum when Robinson was suspended. I just hope it’s not too late.
    Blues’ biggest problem is the lack of experienced players. How many appearances have messrs Blackett, Thorpe, Packwood, Huws, Ibe, Martin, Ruznak had?
    The need for players with experience in the team is long overdue.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    We’ll be OK people – win against Wigan. Let’s get behind the team for the last game of the season and do our bit.

    • NickyWicky says:

      we’ve got two games to get a draw or two draws or a win to get out of the bottom 3. I can’t see Doncaster beating Leicester but they’ll want to try to get a win to ensure they are safe!

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I think the fact that Spector got the nod over Martin is indicative of LC’s ineptitude; worse still when you consider that Gestede ripped us a new one because we did not play CH’s who are any good in the air, or at least one who is. Whilst Martin is not the best defender we have, it was criminal not to play him against Gestede/Smith.
    The case for Packwood to come into the backline is not compelling at all, especially when Thorpe is the other CH, neither are (yet) strong enough to play CB in this Division. Thorpe looks like he can play a bit, but he struggles with the rough and tumble against Gestede/Smith – perhaps Wigan and Bolton are a different proposition?
    Perhaps he’s coming back in for Reilly who struggled on Saturday? To be fair, I thought Callum did well against Blackburn as soon as he was moved into midfield. However, at this stage I’d prefer to see a more experienced player get the nod as he’s a bit of a headless chicken when closing the ball and tends to leave gaps right through the middle.
    Why is Burke captain? As Captain, he should have been rallying the troops, but looks too preoccupied with his own problems just now. If Mullins is in the team, make him captain. He’s struggling with confidence and leaves RB exposed as he will not track back. I sympathise with Burke as most teams double-up on him and he’s not got the pace to go past them in those circumstances; worse still, we have no ‘plan B’..

  • Eric says:

    Agent McLeish – right on. Lets keep right on and support the team for two crucial games and then dissect – sadly I think Dan gave up to soon and lost the flavour of KRO. He has diverted criticism of the owners to the manager that the owners hired!!!

  • ijaz hussain says:

    Desperate measuresby LC to plug a leaky defence. I would’ve kept Mullins as defensive cover in the first place. Another strange one was loaning out Bell to Kidderminster when we had a defensive shortage with Bartley and Burn going back. I’m not sure how Lee Clark picks the team but I imagine its very similar to a cup draw picking out player numbers out of a bag.

    I can’t see recalling Mullins doing anything and cannot see anything other than a Wigan win. I hope I’m wrong and big Zig finishes his time at St Andrews in style. I’ll take a goal coming of Mullins big backside in the 90th and everyone calling the Mullins recall a masterstroke.

  • Andrew says:

    Mullins is no center back, this will not solve our defensive issues. even if it does I cant see us winning

  • mark says:

    formation just came into my head 4141 dont you love been a manager…well done lee hayden will do a job for ya……

  • mark says:

    if size made different Daniel ziggy should be untouchable……..

  • tmsblues says:

    Sadly I think Wigan’s need to win is much stronger than our capability to stop them. Their result against Backpool was a double trouble event for us. Just Hope for a miraculous Ziggy final curtain (and some decent defending from us but not with Mullins at ventre half please?)


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