Often Partisan


It’s been a busy week at St Andrews already. Within twelve hours of me writing this blog post, Ricky Sbragia had turned down the chance of returning to Birmingham City, and I felt a numpty for writing about him. However, we have appointed a new first team coach in Peter Grant.

Peter Grant is possibly best known for his sole managerial position in charge of Norwich City, where he had a bit of a chequered patch; losing to local rivals but beating us in one of his first games in charge. I remember that game well, as it was pretty much the only game I heard large sections of the crowd shouting “Bruce Out!” He has also held assistant manager positions at West Bromwich Albion and Celtic, being number two to Tony Mowbray. I hope this means he’s a proponent of the beautiful game – West Bromwich Albion were certainly all about playing it right under the stewardship of Mowbray.

With the squad and half the backroom staff it seems out in Hong Kong, I can’t see us doing much in the transfer market for the next couple of weeks – which probably means we’ll sign someone tomorrow. I think Grant is still in England; and I know Michael Wiseman is so maybe there is enough seniority that has been left behind to complete deals that McLeish has started.

We’re certainly in need of bodies; looking at the 22 man squad that has gone out to HK and China doesn’t inspire me with too much confidence in us matching the run we had last season. Many will say we were lucky with injuries last season, but I believe to an extent we made out own luck by having a very good medical team at the club – something that the club has lacked for a few years. I know that in some quarters there have been calls for some wholesale changes, but I quite frankly cannot see that happening – especially with the new quota rules that have been brought in. I think we’ll sign no more than another four players at the very most; probably a couple of experienced pros and a couple of young prospects. I think we also need to play the loan market as best as we can to add a couple of young bodies into the team that can provide us with cover and strength in depth.

A report from Colin Tattum in today’s Birmingham Mail suggests we’re in for Moussa Dembele from AZ Alkmaar. I must confess that I don’t know too much about him, but past reports that teams like Arsenal have been in for him, and the fact that Fiorentina almost signed him suggest that he’s well-respected by others, and that he may make a good addition. We are short of pace in the team, and I hope he would be the sort of player to provide that. The report goes on to say we’re still in for Nathaniel Clyne, which gives me hope but I do believe we need to try and wrap that one up quickly if we can.

There are reasons for optimism slowly coming through; let’s hope Blues return from China stronger and with more positivity.

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