Often Partisan

Winning Mentality

Saturday sees Birmingham City take on Bournemouth in the FA Cup third round in the first game between the two teams at St Andrew’s since the horrific 8-0 mauling in October 2014.

It’s probably a bit cliched to say this but I think the game might be seen as a pointer to just how far Blues have progressed under Rowett – if not by Blues fans then by neutrals watching with interest. The 8-0 defeat was the absolute nadir of recent times; a team completely devoid of confidence and organisation ripped apart by a rampant Cherries side. The current incarnation of Birmingham City under Gary Rowett is a completely different animal – something that is easily shown by the number of points picked up since that fateful day.

Of course, with it being a cup game it’s not going to be the same as a league game; Rowett has already indicated he’ll be making changes to the team that beat Brentford 2-1 last weekend while I can’t imagine that Bournemouth will go into the match without trying to protect some of their players for the remainder of the Premier League campaign. I think the hope has to be that Rowett doesn’t make too many changes; resting Clayton Donaldson against WBA last year in the fourth round seemed to have an adverse effect on his form and right now that’s the last thing we need – especially with games against Nottingham Forest and Derby to follow quickly afterwards.

I was asked by a Bournemouth website for an interview if I saw this as a “grudge match” or as a revenge match but the truth is I don’t. As much as that defeat hurt – and I’m not going to lie, it’s one that I’ve tried to block from my memory it was that bad, it’s past history. The fact the whole situation around the team has changed so much (if not the club) means that to me it’s not like it’s the same team trying to win back their dignity; this is a new iteration of Birmingham City that has actually shown it can compete at Championship level and because of that the past doesn’t matter. You’ve only got to click here for betting tips on football matches this weekend to see that the bookies don’t see it that way either.

It’s like the whole argument about resting players or not; I know some people see the cup as a distraction but the truth is that winning is a habit; I believe if Blues can win games and keep winning games then players’ confidence will rise and consequently they’ll actually have less chance of getting injured as they will try harder to do what they can to stay in the team while it’s winning. I think Blues have to go into this game with a mentality of wanting to win it and deal with fixture backlogs and the whole distraction of a run to Wembley if and when it happens.

I’m intrigued to see how Rowett tackles this and to see if he’s learned from the lessons of last year when Blues almost went out embarrasingly to Blyth Spartans before losing to Albion in a game they realistically could have won. I have every confidence that Rowett will take this seriously and with a bit of luck, we’ll be watching the fourth round with interest to see who we get next.


59 Responses to “Winning Mentality”

  • DoctorD says:

    This isn’t a grudge match, but I bet for any so-called “big” team, playing such a potent Bournemouth side is a sign of how different clubs’ fortunes can change.

  • Alex says:

    I think this is a great draw for us. What other game could we lose 0-7 and claim we had improved?!!!

  • Big Al says:

    If Donaldson got injured in this game it would be a disaster. We’ve suffered enough as a result of him being injured this season. I was at the Baggies match last year and felt Novak had a good game. It was sloppy defending that cost us that day.

  • Dave Mann says:

    It would be nice to turn them over after that mauling though and 1-0 will do nicely for me .. They will make more changes than us I guess , maybe kuszczak , Caddis, kieftenbeld and Toral on the bench and bring in Ledzkins, Spector, Davis and shinnie … Not many changes for me though I do appreciate that we have two massive away games next week at Forest and Derby coming up . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      As much as I love the FA Cup, the league has to be the priority. I think with those changes you advocate, we won’t be weakened that much tbh. I’d be gobsmacked if Bournemouth didn’t rest some of their better players and that in itself should give us a chance.

  • mark says:

    sometimes you have to stand up and accept that on that day that year Bournemouth were simply too good against a blues team that had probably destroed its self all confident and shape.

    no punt intended but we get a second bite of the cherry…….lets see what blues team turns up…maybe a draw… Daniel so you owe cherry chimes 8 pints already lets you dont owe him any more after the match lol…….

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Everything Bournemouth touched that day turned to go(a)ld.. but, we didn’t exactly help ourselves did we? A man sent off after 5 minutes or so, and a missed penalty. Heads visibly dropped after their 4th, which didn’t help our already low confidence. Whatever happened after that game, it could only get better.

      Tbh, I don’t even think about that game anymore. It was a freak result and they happen to every team at some point.

  • mark says:

    Hi staff happy new year, well for it to happen again 34/1 bookies got bournemouth big favs, which is no surprises really, i mentioned a draw which i will stick with but with both teams to score…..

  • Jaffa says:

    I don’t think Donaldson will start on Saturday.He has played a lot of football and I think a rest will do him and Blues the world of good.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Not in the last six weeks he hasent ! Kro

  • We have still not signed another striker yet to give Clayton a break , we are a small squad that as just let a few players go , we are still good enough to beat Bournemouth but let’s hope we don’t have any injuries till we buy somebody though ..

  • Shirley Blue says:

    There is no way we should risk Donaldson and Morrison on Saturday and I could probably make the case for a few others but these two are our best and most important players who we would miss most if they got injured. We have got a very winnable away game at Forest on Tuesday which has got to be the priority especially as we have Derby away to follow where the best we will do is a draw.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That leaves just Brock-Madsen to play up front on his own then. I think he’s proved he’s not capable of doing that. Yet at any rate. Only hope is if Rowett can land Vaughan on a permanent. If he comes on loan again, Udders might not want him cup-tied, which puts us back to square one. We might as well stick Alex Jones on the bench and see how he copes for the last 20-25. Nowt to lose.

      • Richard Granfield says:

        Staffs……Alex Jones is not a teenager as some think. He is 21 and needs to make a break through sooner rather than later. I agree with you a place on the bench for him would be good.

      • atko says:

        It would seem Vaughan would come back on loan until the end of the season at which point he would be out of contract & free to sign for us for nothing. Therefore I cannot see Huddersfield being that concerned about being cup tied. Personally I would like to see Wes Thomas play on Saturday. Apparently he is back now & he was the one who usually got the nod for cup ties. I think he has had a bit of a rough ride with Blues owing to our system. He just wants to play not sit on his ass being paid for nothing & all credit to him for that attitude. People cannot take that away from him.

  • Bolton star players will not be sold on the cheap Neil Lennon says ….

  • Dan Hickman says:

    Great shout about Jones, If the game was already won or lost I would put him on as a second striker with Clayton for the last half hour. Donaldson HAS to play for me, he needs the games, and preferably a goal for a bit of confidence. He’s not the type of player who can dip in and out of the side. Also a bit of continuity wouldn’t hurt, the others playing around him again and getting a feel for it for an hour would be a good thing IMHO, then bring a couple off with an eye on next week.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Tbh, I think both Donaldson and Cotterill could do with the game time. They’ll both be a bit rusty after long lay-offs. We need them fit and ready for the league. It’s a double-edged sword for Rowett I suppose, get them match fit by playing them against Bournemouth, or risk them being injured and out of league games. It’s a difficult one.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Sunderland will agree to Danny Graham going on loan to Blackburn, as long as they pay his £35k p/w wages. :-O Blimey, if Graham is worth that much per week, it shows what a hard job Rowett has to bring anyone decent in.

  • Womble Joe says:

    Any side who applies to take part in the greatest football competition in the world should put out the best team they have available. If you don’t want to do this and want to test players then don’t apply to take part.

    As a paying fan and lover of both Blues and the FA Cup I want to see both first teams having a go.

    This modern bollox of putting out sub standard teams gets my back up

  • PB says:

    I am not sure anyone has picked up on the fact our home record against Bournemouth is dreadful, aside from last years 0-8 debacle. We have payed them at St Andrews eight times and NEVER won, 3 draws and 5 losses. Therefore we desperately need a win to rid us of this hoodoo so when we play them next season we can approach the game with more confidence ;-)

  • Mitchell says:

    Vaughan now needs goals.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Isent he back at Huddesfield ? Kro

  • KC says:

    Lots of enthusiasm, passion for the club,Can play the lone striker role or probably alongside CD, and will accept sitting on the bench as and when…So in theory their is a good fit and the early signs looked interesting without going over the top, but Mitchell is right “now needs goals”.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That’s very true. Only twice this season have we scored more than 2 goals in a match. I don’t think Donaldson or Vaughan are going to be prolific, so we need more from the midfield. Maybe that’s what Rowett is looking to do.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Not confirmed yet . Kro

  • paul whittaker says:

    the cherries are worried about relegation so will field a weaker side but with what they are paying out their reserves should eat us alive.
    Nothing to lose so we will play it like an away game
    hopeful for a 1-0

  • Texas Pete says:

    The Tuesday game has to have a bearing on who is in on Saturday. I hope the thought of 8-0 has no bearing though, its a great opportunity to experiment. I think Brock madsen deserves a run out especially as he continues to be included in the squad.

  • Mitchell says:

    We all agree we need more from the midfield , but if we get a dynamo player who can score goals-where does he play?. Our system surely must change without this fear of being overrun etc.Archie Gemmill, Alan Campbell ,Mark Ward from the old days became great favourites playing a decent attacking system .We still leaked goals but the 4-4-2 worked blinked well punting thousands of bums on seats.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    A blogger in the BM tonight commented “Blues have now sold Demarai Gray, Jack Butland, Jordan Mutch and Nathan Redmond for the equivalent of half a Phil Jones.”

    Blimey, that really puts it into perspective doesn’t it?

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Yep,that’s pretty annoying alright,especially as I have never been able to see why Phil Jones is any good.
      The Redmond one always stings the most!

    • atko says:

      With the exception of Jack Butland who is playing out of his skin right now, the others typify Blues players – lack of consistency. It’s that lack of consistency & inability to change the course of a game that makes them pretty average players really to me. I cannot say I was gutted in any of them leaving. Players will always come & go. I think if we really analyse where they are in their careers now then what we got for them was about right really in my opinion.

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    Wes Thomas versus his old club. Not long ago we were looking at Lee Clark signing a Lower league striker from Bournemouth as a real step down in quality. How times have changed. I hope we can get Vaughan back on loan in time for this game. There couldn’t be a better game to pop your cherry than this.

    • atko says:

      Well like I said earlier, Thomas is back now from his loan deal. Who knows? He might play on Saturday. Personally I would rather have him on the bench than Brock Madsen. I think the Brock needs to go out on loan & gain some valuable competitive English Football time not Sunday morning Football time which seems to me what the U21 or Development matches or whatever they are called are all about. Sadly, and I mean this with a huge amount of respect for Wes Thomas attitude, he isn’t prepared to keep the bench warm. He wants regular game time & to be earning his salary. You gotta give him credit for that. Last time Wes Thomas started for us he bagged two in the FA Cup. Could we see him play again this weekend? I always thought Thomas was the closest we got to Donldson. He too would chase & run all day long. I felt a bit sorry for him that he never really got any lengthy run in the team & typical for him, when the Don did get injured, he wasn’t here. Credit to him for his attitude!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I like Wes, he’s a 100%er. I’d have him on the bench before Brock-Madsen any day of the week.

    • atko says:

      Me too Staff. Nothing against the Brock but he seriously needs competitive game time at a first division club to get used to the English game. I half expected him to go out on loan this month. Maybe that is the plan if they get someone in some time soon. Unfortunately though, Wes Thomas isn’t gonna want to keep the bench warm. Great attitude but unfortunately it doesn’t help us. That’s the price of playing a loan striker up front, you have to keep them all happy & when one does it so well the others will get restless.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I agree. But, if every other striker has to play second-fiddle to the Don, then what kind of quality are we going to get? No half decent striker is going to want to get splinters in his arris every week.

  • I hate to say this but I don’t expect us to win tomorrow purely because at the moment, Bournemouth are a better side. They have pace, movement and skill and defensively we are still very suspect against sides that pop the ball about quickly. As for the 0-8 result last time it was as much about bad game management as about poor performance, capitulation and giving up (which was the bit that hurt most; never in over 50 years of following Blues have I ever witnessed a team wearing our colours just throw in the towel!) but about acceptance of reality of the situation we found ourselves in. We were down to ten men early on, we missed the penalty with the score at 0-3 and we should have taken our medicine, closed down the space and adopted the attitude ‘thou shalt not pass us again.’ Attack v defence for the last half hour if you will; better to accept 0-3 and achieve what you can rather than try to get back in at that stage but we’re all wise after the fact aren’t we? I just want our players to do the very best that they can do tomorrow for we can ask no more but I suspect 1-3 in their favour. I will be delighted if I’m wrong but the realist on my left shoulder is winning the argument against the fantasist on my right. Still going to enjoy the day nevertheless KRO

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Does anyone know what time Vaughan has to sign by in able to play tomorrow?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Vaughan on loan till end of season and joining on a one year contract with another year option in the summer , good news at last ! Kro

  • Shirley Blue says:

    Good signing. Gives us options and cover up front. As good as we could have got I think.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Just a left back and an all-action midefielder to go. Wonder if there’s any intention to ask about Tesche?

  • swissjonny says:

    I would love to see us go 4-4-2. with Thomas and Vaughan up front.I really feel we need to use this game as a testing bed-we have problems at home because people have worked us out.So lets be bold and try something new!!

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Everton have made Aiden Mcgeedy and Darron Gubson available it seems.Both need game time as they’ll be trying to impress to get into the Republics euro squad.
    One of them or even both on loan would tick a few boxes for me.

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