Often Partisan

Calmness in Adversity

Birmingham City’s recent winless form continued with a 4-3 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend. Goals from Clayton Donaldson, Wes Thomas and Lee Novak were not enough to prevent defeat to a Brighton team trying to stay out of the relegation fight.

The honeymoon for Gary Rowett is well and truly over. Winless in seven league games, Blues have started to fall back down the table and are nervously looking over their shoulders once more. Although they remain eight points clear of the relegation slots, there is the fear that the Football League might decide to implement a ten point deduction because of BIH voluntarily going into receivership last week which would plunge Blues into a whole heap of trouble.

I can’t comment on the game itself as I didn’t see it – all I can say is that I feared in my preview on Saturday that Blues would struggle to win this one and that proved to be the case. Blues had the chance to go in at half time in the lead from the penalty spot only for Paul Caddis to see his spot kick saved; that turned out to be a turning point as Brighton came back out and took a lead that Blues never recovered from.

What concerns me is that despite saying he was going to freshen up the lineup, Rowett is continuing to stick with players that are not in form. For example, loanee Lloyd Dyer has failed to impress me in any game I’ve seen him play in but he seems to make the starting eleven every week – on Saturday he was picked and Cotterill (who admittedly was abysmal against Middlesbrough) missed out. It does seem churlish to condemn Rowett for sticking with his players after being critical of Lee Clark for his “bingo machine” approach but it does look fairly apparent that some changes are needed. If that means going with youth and bringing in Koby Arthur and Reece Brown then that is what has to happen – particularly as Rowett has shown no faith in some of the fringe members of the squad and loaned them out.

The important thing is it’s not panic stations yet. There is still time for form to turn around – and unlike the same period last year under Lee Clark, I have faith that this can actually happen under Rowett. At times under Clark I got the impression it was like throwing darts and hoping that some would stick as his selections became more and more erratic; at least under Rowett I can see what he is trying to do and how it could work. What I think is most important however is that Rowett is quite dispassionate; I know people value “pashun” but I think it’s important in the managerial hotseat to be calm under pressure and to be able to deal with the bad stuff as well as the good stuff. Clark cared deeply for the club and it showed on his face and in his actions – I only have to think back to the dramatic 3-3 with Burnley and his reaction to the late equaliser to know that it meant something to him but he couldn’t deal with losing and it made him try to change too much; Rowett is much more circumspect and that calmness makes me think that we’ll return to winning ways sooner rather than later – it inspires confidence.

The recent run shows that the idea of getting into the playoffs that was mooted around the turn of the year was a bit pie-in-the-sky but it doesn’t mean that the Rowett Revolution is over. It’s a blip in the road but it’s not something that cannot be overcome – if we can stay cool and trust in our v-neck jumpered champion I’m sure he will deliver.

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40 Responses to “Calmness in Adversity”

  • DoctorD says:

    I hope you’re right Daniel. I’d snap your hand of for a bore-draw at Ipswich tomorrow.

  • Big Al says:

    We were about this many points off relegation at this time last season having began discussing play offs after a good run at xmas. I’m starting to get nervous.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t think there’s anything drastically wrong, we just need to play players who are in form and give a rest to those who arent. Other than that, just choose the time to relax the rigid structure a bit and give the players their head. Maybe if we’d gone 4-4-2 five or ten minutes earlier, we might have got a draw on Saturday. Or maybe not, but it’s worth a shot when we’re losing.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Any news on when Morisson is going to be fit? He was the one who made the difference to that team when he came in. Every team needs a rock at the back and he is ours. Losing 4-3 felt a bit déjà vu with regards to the kind of results we used to get under LC.

  • Luke says:

    In my opinion, GR’s best decision so far has been the acquisition of Michael Morrison. The correlation between results and MM’s presence in the team is almost one. Whilst this is grounds for optimism (on the basis that he’ll be back soon), it does show how thin the squad is – lose one key player and it all goes to pot.

  • Jaffa says:

    Injuries were always going to hurt us.Get Morrisn and Davis back and we will be ok.

  • edd77 says:

    I agree Morrison is a massive miss, robbo has done great but a 5ft 9 former lb and a utility player in Spector dont fill me with confidence especially as proved on sat without David Davis infront of them ,for me Davis has arguably been player of the season so far

  • Mineheadblue says:

    We can’t underestimate how important the psychological aspect is to both the players and the fans. If we can pick up some points in the next few games, then I think we’ll be okay. But if we don’t, then the fear factor comes in both on and off the pitch and the monkey gets on their backs again. Fans will become anxious and those that don’t stay away will transmit their anxiety to already anxious players during the game!
    I do agree that GR has to change things around now, because it’s no longer working with the same group of players and systems. Whilst they may well have performed above themselves when GR came in, I think there are good enough players at the club to stay in the division. I just hope that they continue to believe that themselves.

  • Gtomo says:

    Not won a game since Dyer came in and the change is there that needs to happen ,Dyer seems to nervous to run the line and get the cross in ,he plays up just after the half way line then goes into retreat mode.
    Although the mood seems to be we won’t get points deducted we can’t rule it out and in our current form we are in the mire.
    GR needs to stem the loses KRO.

  • asif says:

    looks like we are starting to defend like we did under lee clark. and we cant manage to beat teams below us and who concede goals. get a defender on loan

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I would be more than happy to get a point at Ipswich tomorrow night and Brentford is going to be tough. That leaves Blackpool at home which we absolutely must win for a number of reasons. Then Derby away where it is difficult to imagine us getting anything. To be honest I think five or six points from those games would be a very good haul.

  • Captain Blues says:

    It certainly isnt the time to panic although our form is concerning and despite a lot being made of Caddis penalty miss (it should be noted that Shinnie and Donaldson both missed sitters at 1-1) I’m not convinced it would have made any difference as Brighton found achors of space behind our defence all afternoon and Gary Rowett (to his credit rather than hiding behind excuses) has admitted that maybe Brighton wanted it a bit more.
    It is stating the obvious but Davis and Morrison look sorely missed at the moment, particularly with some tough upcoming fixtures but on the positive side we are still in a fairly comfortable position (unless the FL decide to act of course) and we have plenty of winable home matches remaining.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    After the Ipswich game (a draw would be good,) I would expect us to pick up points, especially at home. Somehow, I can’t see Rowett allowing us to get into that Home rut again… plus, he owes the Blackpool manager one. :)

  • AS says:

    Midfield is our weakness
    Losing Davis massive problem
    Playing Dyer despite his minimal contributions adds to the midfield weakness
    Letting Edgar go on loan when there was no replacement on board has made the situation worse
    Gleeson is struggling badly but we have no options available to replace him
    Not good news

  • Beegeeblueboy says:

    A Watford fan tweeted my that Dyer was a Jonah. Could be right couldn’t he?

  • Raymondo says:

    I think that should we go down and get rid of our present owners somebody with money will think we’re worth it as a aquisition and buy us out and still have money left to start to buy in the players we need. I’m not worried about relegation – I am expecting new owners sooner rather than later and that’s the goal for me. If we stay up and play the Villa in the Championship as well – even better.KRO

  • StaffsBlue says:

    According to Rowett, there’s a chance that David Davis could be back for the Ipswich game. But Kobi Arthur is out.

  • AndyW says:

    I think we also need to remember where GR has come from. He is essentially a League 1 manager as was LC, and this situation is new to him. He is not used to managing in this division, which is a big step up in my opinion. He is not going to get it right every time and I would imagine he himself would accept that he’s still learning. I agree with Dan that he presents a much calmer approach, and there is no need for panic, but we do have a nasty habit of going on extended bad runs the last few seasons, and the ‘sword of Damocles’ that is Hong Kong v The F.A. can’t be helping confidence. I do think we need some experienced re-enforcements just to steady the ship.

  • nicko says:

    any one remember dyer at leicester he was lightening skinning full backs for fun. now he would not skin a granny. he was dyer by name on saturday. wes thomas must be given a chance he played well when he came on.kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    If Morrison and Davis played Saturday we would have won no danger, conceding 4 goals like w did was deplorable and that would not have happened with those two playing….. As for Ipswich ide take a bore draw also and a clean sheet to match and as for the two home games coming up I wish I had staffs confidence as brentford are flying and better than us this season and Blackpool again is another massive bannana skin…if we don’t get atleast 5 points from these next three games then we could be seriously looking over our shoulder even without a 10 point deduction but I think we’re be ok IF we can get out this bad streak.. On one hand 8 games without a win , on the other hand only 5 defeats in 20 games under rowett???xxxx .kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    The one thing I always consider Dave, is that no one in this league is unbeatable. Brentford have lost the same amount of games as us, 11. The main difference is their draws, 4, compared to our 12. Remember, we should have buried Brentford by half time at their place…. and at least this time, they’ll have 11 men (hopefully.) ;)

    • Dave Mann says:

      I was there staffs and yes we should have won it by half time but they’ve improved since and we haven’t and yes any team from top to bottom can beat any other on any given day but a win is due and though I can’t see it at il pswich I do hope your right that we can turn brentford over and then Blackpool Wednesday week and then any hint of relegation would have gone with 45 points and with stil 11 games left … That will be a point more than last season when 44 kept us up and I think it will be round about the same again. Kro

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I think the main aim tomorrow will be not conceding, so I expect the usual 4-2-3-1. Personally, I think we have improved since the Brentford away game, we’ve just not been at our best the last couple of weeks. But, I think Rowett will change things at home and either go 4-4-2 at home, or switch to it earlier in the game. I see no reason why we can’t take 6 points from the 2 home games, or at least 4.

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    We beed Morrison and Davis back but if we still had Edgar and Grant Hall we wouldn’t have been in this mess. While Cotts was pants versus Boro at leaat he will pit in decent balls into the box and is dangerous from set pieces. What does Dyer add? Let’s hope the rest does him good . I agree Daniel changes are needed and players shouldn’t feel they are undroppable.. I think for the next game GR needs to change the defence by playing Robbo and Kiernan as CB and Reilly in the DM role or maybe move Grounds inside and Hancox at LB.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      I didn’t get dropping Cotterill for Dyer either. The former may have had a bad game against Boro but at least he had a go and was trying to make things happen. He didn’t hide and if someone is having a bad day that is all you can ask. Dyer has been conspicuous by his absence in the games I have seen. Cotterill has been one of the successes this season since he came to us for free from relegated Doncaster. I havnt seen an assists table but he must be top of it and he has scored goals too some very good.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Rowett is starting with unusual line ups lately and dyer ahead of cotterill was a strange one.. I would not even have dyer on the bench and Thomas as go start along Donaldson for the rest of the season in a forward two no matter the formation !! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t think it hurts to rest the odd player for a game at this stage in the season. We have 5 players who have played 30 or more league games (including Cotterill,) another two who have played 28 and one who has 25 games played.

    I fully expect Cotts to be back in the team tomorrow. It’s down the middle of the pitch where decisions need to be made. Who partners Robbo? who will sit in there with Gleeson? Will it be The Don or Thomas up front. Only GR has the answers.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Ide play Thomas and Donaldson up front and Kiernan with robbo and Gleeson with Davis if fit or shinnie in a 4-4-2 no messing. Kro

  • raymondo says:

    I’d just trust Gary Rowett. He kn ows more than we do. KRO

  • SuperKRO says:

    I think there must have been some upset between Rowett & Cotterill during or after the Middlesborough game; hence why we didnt see him feature versus Brighton. Such an abropt drop the the starting XI for one of our best players was odd to say the least ! The Brighton game really showed how crucial Davis and MM are to us. I personally think we need to start playing 442 as from that we can always revert back to 4 2 3 1 if the situation and dynamic of the game dictates that. I would have Randolph (GK) Caddis (RB) MM (CB) Robbo (CB) Grounds (LB) Davis (CDM) Cotterill (RM) Gray (LM) Shinnie (CAM) and Donaldson and Thomas up top, essentially a 4 1 2 1 2. This allows us to get a solid defensive shape when defending (essentially a 442) so we can defend narrow shit down the space in the middle of the pitch as well as giving us good width for outlet balls. However I have the upmost faith in GR and his choices so all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and support the boys in blue ! KRO

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    It will be interesting to see Cotrills reaction after being benched ( if he’s picked for the Ipswich game.) Perhaps a good kick up the backside might get him back to the levels of performance he showed during our good run.

  • andy says:

    I have a mate who is a season ticket holder at Leicester and he told me that Dyer was their best player in their final push for promotion to the Prem, so it baffles me why he looks so poor for Blues.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Simply, because we’re not using him properly. Instead of feeding him in space, he’s getting the ball with his back to goal, with a defender right behind him. First he has to receive and control the ball, then try to turn .. all with the defender in close attendance. If we release him early (facing the full back,) he can be dangerous, as demonstrated with the Grounds goal against Albion and the ‘goal’ on a plate for Donaldson against Brighton. If we’re not going to use the guy properly, we might as well send him back and save the money.

  • Jimbob says:

    Thing is if the penalty goes in and Donaldson doesn’t miss yet another one on one,is a different ball game,I think Wes needs a run and Donaldson needs a rest,I know he works hard and has scored a couple of snaky goals,but Wes looks sharp

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