Often Partisan

One in, Four Out

Gary Rowett today wrapped up the signing of Diego Fabbrini on loan deadline day, with the player recalled from Millwall by his parent club Watford to come to St Andrew’s. Four young players have left on loan – Denny Johnstone to Burton Albion; Liam Truslove to Leamington; while Nat Kelly and James Fry go to Kidderminster Harriers.

I’m surprised by the signing of Fabbrini – on more than one account. Firstly, I have to say he is a very good player – as we saw when Millwall beat us at home 1-0. He was comfortably the best player on the park – and I will concede right now he is better than we have.

However, with no prize money on offer for a higher finish in the Championship and with virtually nothing to play for I’m surprised we’ve spent wages on bringing him in. He’s contracted until 2017 so unless he’s severely fell out with the Watford hierarchy I can’t see him coming permanently – and his signing means there is another obstacle in the way of looking at players we actually own like Reece Brown to see if they can fit into Rowett’s thinking before the end of the season.

I guess I should shut up and stop whinging – after all, we’ve been starved of talent of late at Blues and it would be nice to see a genuinely classy player in a forward role that can last 90 minutes – but I can’t help but think “so what?” about it. Maybe my opinion will be reversed in a week when we actually play.

After the display Denny Johnstone put in the other night I’m semi-disappointed that he’s gone out on loan – but I agree that he needs first team action and he’s probably not going to get it at Stans. He’s with us for another two years and I keep hearing these words “development plan” so I suspect it’s an exercise in giving him time at a good level with a good coach to see how he grows.

However, for Truslove, Kelly and Fry this isn’t so much about their Blues future but their footballing future. Kelly and Fry have already been told that they will be let go and a spell of playing at Conference level will hopefully put them in the shop window for someone to pick their contract up. Truslove has yet to hear if the club will take up the option on his deal which expires this year – at 19, to be loaned out to Conference North level isn’t great and I think is related to the lack of progress he has made as a player. I’d like to see him push on – I’ve seen him play well for the u21s but if no one from a higher division is trying to sign him it speaks volumes.

Blues have another u21 game coming up and it’ll be interesting to see who features – all three of the players mentioned above are on youth loans and thus can play reserve fixtures for Blues while on loan. It could be that Richard Beale will start looking to more of the U18s to make the step up to see who can push on next year from the Academy.

I wanted to end this piece with a quick thank you to Alex from Ferndown Estates, who has been really been helpful with his knowledge of the grassroots programme Blues Academy undertakes with local clubs. It’s something I’m going to look at in the coming weeks and I’m grateful he could help out.

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39 Responses to “One in, Four Out”

  • BigmanSteve0 says:

    I had a nice pair of Diego Fabbrini’s in the 80’s. KRO SOTV

  • Dave Mann says:

    He looked awesome against us I agree when millwall came to Stans but we were bloody terrible and I think even John stead would have looked world class that day !! … Where do we play him because to me he his not a second striker and I don’t think that’s where rowett would play him anyway , he can only take shinnies place and that in my opinion would be very harsh . Ide stick him on the left and put gray on the bench where he should be ..out of position propably but cotterill ,shinnie,fabbrini and Donaldson to Start against Rotherham looks very tempting with Davis and Teache holding … Lets we what these last 8 games can bring with also Morrison and Green back in the fold and no 10 point deduction who’s saying there’s nothing to play for!!!… Revenge on Bournemouth for a start!!! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      It’s possible that Fabbrini could be played on the right flank, with Cotterill switched to the left. Cotts is nowhere near as effective on the right. As I’ve said before, he’s not an out-and-out right winger, he prefers to run through the left channel, cut inside and shoot. So why not play him where you can get the best out of him? I know that would mean dropping Gray to the bench.. but personally, I can’t see what he actually does to warrant a permanent first team place anyway.

      At the moment, there’s no real end product from our front line (4 players, 10 games, 5 goals).. we don’t have that cutting edge with our final ball.. and I think Fabbrini has been brought in to address that. I think Rowett has been very astute with this acquisition.

  • Adam True Blue says:

    Perhaps GR knows more than we do about the behind the scenes shenanigans, and wants to assure a better finish on the pitch than we might see off it. This would explain the expense at this point in the season. Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Having Morrison back along with Green and now fabbrini it’s like three new signings so ime as I said am actually looking forward to the last 8 games because a top ten finish is still something to aim for and it will be nice to go to games at the sharp end of the season and not get stressed about having to get a win there or a draw there … And also not get wound up like I did at Cardiff , please god ! Kro

  • Luke says:

    The motive for Fabbrini’s signing is indeed a mystery. Could it be that the management think there’s bad news coming today that means we still need more points?

  • Ash Bromfield says:

    100% agree with you on this one. Rowett seems to be reluctant to play any of the you ger players who’re on form for the youth squads. Now is the best oppurtunity.

  • Mineheadblue says:

    Personally, I’m excited that we’ve got Fabbrini; Michael Johnson was purring about him on the commentary when we played Millwall. I will be coming up for the Wolves game with my son and I’m really looking forward to watching a skilful, tricky playmaker who can also score goals.
    God knows we deserve a bit of a boost and a good end to the season………..don’t we?? So I say well done Gary Rowett!!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    This could well be our side for the rest of the season; not too bad at all. (I put Tesche in because Gleeson couldn’t tackle a Tonka.)


    Caddis Morrison Kiernan/Robinson Grounds

    Tesche Davis

    Fabbrini Shinnie Cotterill


  • Dave Mann says:

    With Kiernan in for Robinson staffs that would also be my team to start these last few games and then bring on the subs accordingly BUT NOT DYER ! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I would go with Kiernan too, both strong, quick, good in the air.. but I think Rowett is going to pitch Robbo in again. Although, after their partnership earlier this year, you can’t really knock him tbf.

  • Blue Lizard says:

    I dont buy into this “Nothing to play for” thing being spoken about..until it is mathematically impossible to go down then I’m sorry but it is ALL to play for…don’t forget it’s Blues!! and we don’t do easy!..certainly Fabbrini was a shock and I didn’t see that one coming

    • Dave Mann says:

      I agree Blue Lizard and we still need 57 points as it stands to be safe as the bottom three can only maximise 56 so there’s a target to aim for to start with so 10 points left and lets play like we need them though in realistic terms I think personally we’ve hot enough NOW though I know exactly what you mean pal! Kro

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Dan…. I agree with your logic regarding why are we adding another midfielder who is contracted until 2017 instead of playing our youngsters.
    However, Rowett may know something we don’t, because it is strange that Watford are loaning a 24 yo out. It can’t be for development. Maybe he is surplus to requirements at Vicarage Road and is being put in the “Shop Window”.

  • Kazakblue says:

    I wonder if it is not in GR’s plan to recruit for next season, with several senior players being released in the summer clearout (Or so we imagine) would Fabbrini, if he shows an outstanding skill set in the remaining games, not be a welcome addition where whatever salary he is offered is offset by other players departures?
    The majority of commentators on OP see the boys in blue week in and week out, I do not have that choice due to work commitments, so I will bow and respect everyone elses judgement, I agree with Staffs Blue’s team, but still feel that we need a further useful forward who can score goals as well as hold up play for others.
    Oh for a Bob Hatton, Bob Latchford, TF and Kenny Burns clones.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Those were players who could get you up on your feet. Not many can do that for me these days.

      I think you’re right about another forward. I’d be surprised if Thomas, Novak and Zigic are here next season and it doesn’t look like Rowett rates Johnstone much.. not yet anyway. That would leave us with just Matt Green.. and there’s nothing yet to indicate that he’ll be kept on. So we could be all change up front next season. The summer will be an interesting time.

      • Dave Mann says:

        It will be interesting on and off the pitch this summer , could be one of the most active we’ve seen for some years …. New owners , new quality players , new start , lets all hope so !! Kto

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I think the squad will look quite different next season. I’m expecting a good ten or so players to be leaving at the end of this season. There are areas in the team where we’re weak and also, there’s not enough on the bench to affect a game. Rowett isn’t daft, he knows the players who will do it for him next season.. and those who won’t/can’t. I trust him to sort it.

  • oldburyblue says:

    I for one was pleased as punch last night when I saw that Fabbrini was coming. He was brilliant against us, so much so I had to research him when I got home from the match. When I discovered that he was on loan to Millwall my first thought was “pity we still haven’t got the financial muscle to pinch him”. I look forward to watching him, be it for only 8 games. Who knows what will happen if Watford want rid, as looks likely.

  • The Timms says:

    That Fabbrini geeza is responsible for one of the funniest moments of Blues crowd support I’ve ever heard. During a lull moment against Millwall I recall a voice from behind me shout “f**k off Screech!”. I enjoyed that one.

    • Dave Mann says:

      Saved by the bell the Timms ,absoluetly nothing like him from some one who is a expert on those sort of moments , never mind mate, the guy behind you must be blind .kro

  • Eric says:

    Yes, stop whinging Dan…I trust the manager…

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I really don’t get some of the negative comments about GR bringing in Fabbrini. When you get a chance to get a player in like that you take it whatever the situation. Who knows whether he might be available on loan next season and we can use this opportunity to get ahead of the other clubs. We were in danger of this season dying a slow death so now we have got an exciting, quality player to see. I just hope he proves to be more effective than our other Watford loanee who has been shocking. I think it also shows we have an ambitious manager who wants to get in quality players even with a very limited budget and do whatever he can to make us better.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree. We were lacking in the attacking midfielder department. He’s sorted that. What’s not to like?

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Agree. Its nice for us all to be exited about a new signing for a change and I can’t remember the last time that happened. If he turns out to be the player he looked at Stans then he could be a bit of a coup. Depending on our situation financially come the summer he could already be an integral part of our side come the beginning of the season either on loan or permanently.
      I also get Dans point that it’s a bit of a wasted opportunity as far as Reece Brown is concerned especially being as there’s a strong possibility he won’t be coming on a permanent basis the way things stand at the momment.
      I still don’t understand how our finances work. GR has been given the green light to bring Fabrini in and pay his wages but by rights we should have run out of money a year ago. BIHL are unable to trade on the HKSE and there are no more parachute payments.
      I suppose as long as EY and the FL are happy,then that’s all that counts.

  • bluenoserob says:

    Maybe there was no huge agenda re signing Fabbrini. Maybe GR found out he was variable and thought “heres a good player lets make use of him and win a few more games before the end of the season”

  • Shirley Blue says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see who makes way for him. Shinnie has done well this season but in a way he is a problem. He has got technical ability but two goals from your second striker is not enough and he is very lightweight. It puts a lot of pressure on Donaldson who not only has the responsibility of getting the goals but also doing the hold up play. If Fabbrini’s best position is number 10/second striker then that’s where he has got to play rather than being stuck out wide. I would feel sorry for Shinnie but we are not in a position to be too sentimental.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      This was my point earlier, there seems to be no real link between the advanced midfield and Donaldson. Neither Shinnie or Gray really provide anything goal-wise and how many goals do they contribute to? Cotterill seems to do it as and when it suits… so a lot of the time, our attacks are breaking down before Donaldson gets much of a chance. Hopefully, Fabbrini will provide that link and, considering the form of the advanced three, I’m not really bothered which one he replaces.

  • Ian Ambrose says:

    Good luck to Gary Rowetts top 10th end of season :)

  • Raymondo says:

    Maybe GR thinks we need more points in case of any deduction and this is the player to get them. Or maybe he’s a future permanent deal. After all, if he’s that good why isn’t he in Watford’s first team? But what do I know? KRO anyway!

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I think people are just reading too much into it. A player who probably put in the best individual performance we have seen at St Andrews for a while became available and GR thought why not? I am now looking forward to the Rotherham game more than I was so all good.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Fabbrini is a better passer of the ball than anyone else we’ve got.. so it’s a no brainer really.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    You get better by bringing in better players. Can you see Shinnie being in a promotion team? Probably not. Frabbrini probably. Now think of the others. Morrison yes; Davis yes; Gray yes; Cotterill probably; Donaldson, Randolph, Caddis, Gleeson possibly. Rowett has to find so many new players.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Colin Tattum @colintattum
    In keeping with Gary Rowett’s other Blues loan signings, Diego Fabbrini incoming is with an eye on next season, too.

    There you have it in a nutshell, why Fabbrini has been brought in now.

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