Often Partisan

Davis and Edgar

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett faces a selection dilemma this weekend after David Davis limped off with a knee injury in midweek. Davis has played in every single league game since Rowett was appointed Birmingham City manager and his absence from the Blues midfield will be difficult to replace.

It’s a tough one for Blues in that since Rowett was installed in the managerial hotseat, the central midfield pairing of Gleeson and Davis have played every single game barring the cup match against Blyth Spartans, with the Boro game being the first league game under the current management that the pair didn’t complete 90 minutes. In that period the pair of former Wolves players have established a good partnership with Davis being one of the foremost candidates for player of the season.

The obvious replacement would seem to be Callum Reilly, who slotted in for Davis on Wednesday night but the young Irish midfielder looked lost against a good footballing Middlesbrough side – which isn’t surprising bearing in mind Reilly has played just one minute of league football since the start of the year.

Jonathan Spector is another potential replacement but that would require upsetting the back four to move the American forward; loanee Rob Kiernan can play as a defensive midfielder but is more suited to playing in central defence while youngster Reece Brown has only played one minute of first team football for Blues all season. Whichever way Rowett goes, it’s going to be a big call – and another test of his managerial ability.

This situation has left Blues fans again questioning the wisdom of allowing David Edgar out on loan for the remainder of the season without a recall option as the Canadian can play either centre-back or defensive midfield – both options that Blues are lacking in. With Blues not signing an obvious replacement until the loan capture of Rob Kiernan some weeks later it did look a surprising move and I personally hope it’s one that doesn’t blow up in our face.

As much as I suspect there were financial motives for letting Edgar go out on loan I wonder if there was a personality clash too; there were rumblings that Edgar wasn’t happy being out of the team and saw his role more as a midfielder than as a defender. If that’s true as much as I’d respect Rowett for laying down the law I think that it’s possible that this might have also cut his own nose to spite his face a little as there is no doubt in my mind we could do with Edgar around the team now.

One of the tests of a manager’s ability is to be able to cope with adversity; Rowett is known to prefer a smaller squad and part of the deal with that is when injuries bite they bite hard. Rowett has got to show that he can make the most of what he has and that he can utilise all of his squad to make up for the loss of a key player; I understand he wants to bring in someone specific not just to cover this but to improve the squad on a longer term but until that deal is done Rowett will have to make do – it’s up to him to show that moving out Edgar isn’t going to cost us dearly.

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39 Responses to “Davis and Edgar”

  • Blue Lizard says:

    It’s on the club website that the injury to Davis will speed up GR’s search for a midfielder….Lets hope it is someone tried and tested at this level ……

  • Dave Mann says:

    It’s a loss loosing Davis and rilley looked out of his depth Wednesday so I wouldn’t go there so ide play Spector so my team would be … Randolph,Caddis,Kiernan,Robinson, Grounds,Cotterill ,Spector,Gleeson,Shinnie,Gray,Donaldson….only bring on rilley and dyer if we are really desperate or even still be bold and play Thomas up front in a 4-4-2 ?! Kro

    • Ted says:

      I agree – we should try 4-4-2 with Wes and the Don up front.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m a traditional 4-4-2 at home man.

      • ChrisG says:

        Me too staffs, I think he has to go 442 tomorrow & try & get back to winning ways, bring Wes in & definately leave Reilly at home

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Reilly should have been loaned out for a month, to give him some game time. He was obviously going to be ring rusty after hardly playing for 4 months. It was asking a lot of the kid.

          • ChrisG says:

            Ye this is a tough league we’re in & we have several players lacking game time as well as experience, it’s not easy for a young player like Reilly to fit right in especially as he seems to be lacking a bit of confidence as well, but I honestly don’t think he contributes anything even from the bench

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I think that, after being semi-regular last season, the likes of Reilly and Hancox have regressed a bit this season with not being much part of the first team. It’s like they’re in the stiffs waiting for a chance again. There has to be questions now about whether they’re ever going to be good enough to be first team regulars. IMO, it’s looking highly unlikely. Maybe, towards the end of the season (if we’re safe) it might be time to start blooding some of the next generation in the odd game.

          • ChrisG says:

            I think thats about right, I think a few contracts are up soon so GR ( unless he knows already) will have to have a look at 1 or 2 players. I can see a few moving on as at the end of the day this is mostly Clarks squad & GR will probably have a few ideas of who he wants to bring in.

  • fingles says:

    I would be Brown for me.Hopefully not Spector.

  • Warwickshired says:

    Middlesbrough are a good footballer side and would make many teams look average, Callum is young talented player better suited to 4-4-2 and also there is that new chap, I think it’s a bit premature second guessing his choice to let Edgar go out on loan

  • Bluemat says:

    It has to be someone who doesn’t mind putting their foot in. We are struggling a little of late, i have seen abit of a decline in performances since the West Brom game to be honest but i don’t lay the blame anywhere in particular. I have noticed that when Rowett first came in we went for the throats of teams and we weren’t afraid to make a mistake in going forward but now it seems that we are very apprehensive and prefer to sit back more. Consistency is a massive attribute in football and is the difference between being a championship/league 1 and a premiership player and i think thats telling more then ever at the moment, especially with Donaldson. For me this season is nowhere near over, we still need to be wary of the teams below us. KRO!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I don’t think for one moment that we’ll get sucked back in, but that doesn’t mean we should become complacent about it. This next 2 or 3 weeks is the most significant period of the season so far. If we do well and pick up points, we can cement our place in the top half and be more comfortable for the last month. If we lose points, we could drop like a stone (maybe 4 or 5 places.) I think we should definitely go 4-4-2 at home and go hell for leather to get those 60 points to (more or less) guarantee staying up (less if there’s no points deduction.)

  • Ted says:

    I like Davis a lot. Yes, he’s prone to the odd mistake or misplaced pass but he’s dogged and a good team player. His absence will be noticed. Reilly is definitely not the answer – he looked out of his league the other night. Apparently Edgar just didn’t suit the mood in the team by being demanding? Methinks Rowett will bring someone in.
    On another note. Dyer has been frankly dire for us…

  • CHRISC says:

    For me Edgar would not have been the answer. when he played as the holding midfielder earlier in the season he looked liked what he was a centre half playing out of position no pace or vision.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That was in the same game that Gunning was injured IIRC. Edgar didn’t look that great in the holding midfield position, but once he dropped back to centre back he looked better. But, if a player doesn’t want to play where the manager wants him to, then he has to be shipped out imo. The decision was the right one, just unfortunate that it left us a bit short (although it hasn’t made that much difference tbf.)

  • Blue Steve says:

    I am hopeful that Michael Morrison will be fit sooner rather than later. Despite opposition here I would push spector into midfield. IMO he has great energy that suits a midfield role.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If Rowett persists with 4-2-3-1 (I’d be surprised if he didn’t away from home at least) one other option, would be to drop Kiernan into central defence alongside Spector.. and slot Robbo into centre midfield with Gleeson. That would allow Robbo to tackle early, instead of the (sometimes) desperate lunges when he’s at the back. At least it would replace Davis’ aggression for a game or two until he’s back. As for Reece Brown, he might be a replacement for Gleeson or Shinnie… but Davis? With Gleeson and Brown in CM, there’d barely be a tackle the whole game.

    Randolph; Caddis, Spector, Kiernan, Grounds; Cotterill, Gleeson, Robinson, Gray; Donaldson.


    Randolph; Caddis, Spector, Grounds, Hancox; Cotterill, Gleeson, Robinson, Gray; Donaldson.

  • Bluesbot says:

    Give calum Reilly another chance, sure he looked off the pace against boro but he hasnt played much league football of late, just needs to get up to speed and slotting him will give him a much needed confidence boost – put the carrot in front of him and tell him its his place to keep or lose !!!

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      I agree. It’s a bit unfair to disgard the kid off the back of one half of a game. Give him a chance to build his confidence and let him have a chance to establish himself,otherwise,what’s the point in him being at the club.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I have never rated Edgar and was not sorry to see him leave.
    A radical experiment would be to partner Kiernan and Grounds in central defence and give Hancox a start at left back. Hancox is sound defensively and would give greater attacking support to his winger than the less mobile Grounds. Robinson deserves a break, because at 36 with games coming thick and fast he needs one.
    I would put Spector in Davis’s position and bring the very talented Reece Brown in for either Shinnie or Cotterill.
    Rowett needs to freshen things up and these changes are the way to do it.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Letting Edgar go was one thing but not having a replacement lined up was naive. Rowett hasn’t properly accounted for the fact that we could have injury/suspension problems at some stage and Edgar’s flexibility would have been very useful to say the least.

  • Trevor Honnor says:

    I’d vote for a much more traditional 4-4-2 with one Holding Midfielder (Gleeson) and a free roaming/attacking Midfielder (Shinnie).
    Go with Thomas and Donaldson up front and go for a big win. Brighton won’t know what’s hit them.
    Gleeson will have to earn his money in the middle and if it goes wrong then Spector on for Shinnie or perhaps a striker to firm the middle of the pitch up and revert back to 4-5-1 / 4-2-3-1.

    I don’t trust Spector at CB as he makes one or two costly mistakes that cost goals (Millwall). In the middle for the last 30 mins against tiring opposition with 2 CB’s behind him, just about okay.

    I know we haven’t played a 4-4-2 system in recent times, and yes it is a gamble but in this country we are kind of bred on playing like this, almost a natural English/British formation. Players will adapt to this much quicker than learning to play a 4-5-1 counter attacking system.

    With 2 of our best players injured, anything we do this weekend will be out of the ordinary, a gamble if you will. Why not gamble of a convincing win by throwing everything at them.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Wouldn’t disagree with much of that, except playing Gleeson on his own in the holding position. He’s nowhere near good enough for that position without Davis to protect him. He doesn’t tackle, doesn’t track opponents (especially after they’ve already glided past him,) and only plays the occasional forward ball. If we’re going to play 4-4-2 with one holding midfielder, it has to be Davis, if he’s fit… or Kiernan/Spector if he isn’t.

      • Trevor Honnor says:

        Davis is a big miss. The holding role is the only one causing concern for me right now. I’d start Kiernan at CB. At 24 he should have plenty of experience and be quite a mature footballer. Assuming he plays, he has a chance here to impress. I’d like to see him take the chance should it be offered. Much like Morrison did.

        Holding midfield – Gleeson or Spector ?
        I’d stick to my original plan and play Gleeson in front of the back 4 and Shinne roaming around linking play.

        This is where Rowett/Robbo have to get a bit more out of him in matches. To be fair, if Robbo politely requested me to pull my finger out, I think I would :)

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Gary Rowett after the Boro game:

    “If we play terribly trying to be brave I can live with that. It’s when we don’t play so well and don’t be brave that I think that’s a little bit of a cop out. I told the players afterwards, they probably got a few more heated words than they have heard from me previously. But that’s what it’s about, it’s about me trying to force them to be braver and on to better performances.”

    Now that’s what I want to hear! Let’s see if they take any notice tomorrow.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I bloody hope so because I dont fancy coming all the way back from Brighton having seen a performance that doesent merit the result which has happened recently … Be brave and play Donaldson and Thomas up front and go 4-4-2,even though its away from home!! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Some of our recent play has reminded me of earlier in the season, when we were too cautious, sat back and got mugged in so many games. I don’t mind us being a bit cagey in the early stages.. but when the game is there for the taking, we need to go for it, or we’ll have more results like Millwall, Blackpool, etc.

  • Euston 9:18 says:

    Hopefully LIAM TRUSLOVE will get a chance soon,could be the new Mark Ward (on the pitch)

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Reading Rowett’s comments about Reece Brown earlier, I wouldn’t think it’s gonna happen any time soon. I’d love to see some of our young guns given a chance in the odd game.

  • andy says:

    When Gleeson played for MK Dons he was a central midfielder and a big player for them so I don’t think it would be a problem to move Gleeson into the centre and play Kiernan in front of the back four.

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    I agree play Kiernan aa holding midfielder and push Gleeson up. Thomas looked lively when he came on I’d play him instead of out of form Donaldson. I’d keep the back 5 the same and keep Spector there despite the odd lapse until Morrison returns.

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