Often Partisan

Do you believe?

Gary Rowett spoke on the official website on Monday about how up to a dozen teams were still in the frame for promotion from the Championship including Blues. 12th placed Brentford trail Hull City by 16 points making the top half of the second tier a fairly tightly packed bunch. Is the Bromsgrove Ranieri a believer in the Promotion disco bus?

I’ve long held that this could indeed be our year. While I think the bookies are rarely wrong and that 150-1 on us to win the Championship is about right because it’s about as likely to happen as the mob from across the expressway staying up a quick check on oddschecker will tell you that you can get up to 20-1 (at the time of writing) on Blues to be promoted.

Surely this is just hubris talking? Can Blues actually do it though?

At this moment in time, Blues are in 8th place on 47 points. If you look at the last ten years worth of Championship tables, you can work out the average total points for 6th place (and thus a place in the playoffs) is 73.2. Last year was the highest it has been for some time at 78 while three seasons ago Brighton squeaked into the playoffs with just 68.

Taking the mean number of points means Blues need to pick up 26 points from the remaining 16 games – in my eyes not a particularly onerous task. Furthermore, it’s my notion (not backed up by scientific fact) that any team “on a run” going into the playoffs are going to make it all the way; thus if we do go on a run in the way Rowett talks about, we’ve got a chance.

It’s a big ask though isn’t it? A few injuries or suspensions and Blues could be in trouble…

I have to admit, I do worry about the thinness of the squad at times – particularly in defence. Barring a few aberrations Blues’ defence has been particularly mean of late. Consistency of selection has helped in that players do seem to be well versed in their roles but I always have that fear that a couple of slips will cause that confidence that has been built up to shatter. This weekend against Rotherham will be interesting to see how the defence bounce back after “five minutes of madness” cost the team three points against Sheffield Wednesday at St Andrew’s.

It’s weird, because I think some people see me as a doom-monger but I really do actually believe this year – starting this weekend. Rotherham have just sacked their manager, are bottom three, and yet Blues are 6-4 to win away at the New York stadium. Blues are taking a sell-out away crowd and are going to be looking to bounce back against a team fighting for it’s life at the bottom of the table. I’ve got a £50 free bet with Ladbrokes sports betting this weekend – can you guess where my money is going?

Do you believe?


95 Responses to “Do you believe?”

  • Art says:

    Sorry to say I’m a none believer.

    Top ten finish at best.

    Assuming GR is around this time next season and a little more money is available I think we will get promotion but not this year- the squad is not strong enough.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      We have been performing at play off form or very near it for 16 months now – ever since GR came in so why are we suddenly going to fall apart with 16 games to go. We are only 3 points off sixth place so to say we are not good enough is ridiculous. We have very recently stuffed Derby and Ipswich and ok Saturday was a setback but I don’t get writing us off now.

      • AdamTrueBlue says:

        LIKE, couldnt find the ‘like’ button. Kro

      • Art says:

        Shirley Blue,

        Where does it say in my post that we are not good enough?

        I actually said the squad is not strong enough – which means we haven’t sufficient strength to cover inevitable injuries or suspensions …This is not being rediiculous it’s being realistic.

        • Shirley Blue says:

          With the players brought in over the last month or so the squad is the strongest it has been since GR took charge and even before they came in we have produced sustained play off form or very close to it for 16 months. If we have managed to do that without the new players why do you assume our form is going to drop off with them. We have got more cover now than we have had for a long time.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Of course it’s possible to finish in the play-offs and of course it’s possible to get promoted. But will we? Well, it’s the best chance we’ve had since we were relegated and I believe that the only thing that will stop us going up, is the players themselves. For me, it depends on their mental toughness to win the crucial games. We’ll have a better idea by Easter.

    • Singapore Brum says:

      It’s fairly simple really. If we beat the teams around us at home, and all the top teams have yet to come to St Andrews, we will almost certainly make the playoffs.

      Unfortunately, the most recent of those top teams to come, beat us and by most reports I read (yes, I didn’t manage the 12,000 mile return journey for this one), Sheffield Wednesday were a class act.

      So, Boro, Hull, Burnley and Brighton are all there for the taking and I suppose you could call them 6 pointers.

      The squad may be strong enough with the January signings to make a challenge, my concern is the lack of an out and out goal scorer. How I wish we had a Forssell in the team now.

  • Griff says:

    If it wasn’t for GR, we would be mid table at best with our squad. I think we’ll just come up short for a play off place and I fear GR will be on his way in the summer. This might be our one and only shot at promotion and that’s my real concern..

    • ChrisG says:

      Griff could you get tonites winning lotto numbers for me from your crystal ball?. How can you say we’d be mid table if it wasn’t for GR? for all you know if we had a different manager we might be top of the league, & as for him leaving that’s yesterdays news give it a rest

    • AdamTrueBlue says:

      Griff, where have you seen GR will be going in the summer? GR has said he has a 2 to 3 year plan at Blues, nowhere has he said if he doesnt achieve here he will move on, As for Derby, I commute 2 hours to work and would love the short commute from Derby to Brum.

  • ChrisG says:

    I’ve thought all season that we would make the play offs & my opinion hasn’t changed, whether we would get promoted though is another matter entirely. This season blues have shown that they have that bouncebackability following a disappointing result & I think that’s what will get us over the line. Teams around us have had good runs and bad, Ipswich, Derby & Brighton haven’t done so well lately & Sheff Wed are on a good run, but can they keep it up?. I don’t believe in this crap about us punching above our weight, we are where we are through hard work & tenacity.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Burnley are the form team and I think they could split the top 2 of Boro and Hull and get promoted. But, apart from the top 3, I think all the other play-off places are up for grabs. That gives us 3 places to aim for. There’s no reason why we can’t be one of them, but games against the likes of Rotherham and Bolton are crucial if we’re going to have a chance.

  • Lich Blues says:

    Well said Chris G about punching above our weight. We are where we are on merit. I have said before on OP that I think we might just sneak a play off place. If we do who knows if we could actually get promoted? We would be the one side in the play offs with the least pressure. No one expects us to be there, we have spent peanuts compared to everyone else and most fans would have been happy with a top ten finish before the season started.

    We haven’t been out of the top ten all season so i think a surprise is on the cards and we’ll finish 6. I believe because it feels crap turning up at Stans and away games every week if i didn’t. KRO.

  • Tony E says:

    I think the manager has done a fantastic job to get us to where we currently lie in the table (8th) and would be delighted, but surprised, should he get us into the play offs. However, should we get there none of the other clubs would want to play against us. Whatever happens its a massive improvement on where we were two years ago and I am enjoying going to games again.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    At the end of the day, 9th place would be progress (on last season,) anything above that would be a bonus.

    • AdamTrueBlue says:

      Very true Staffs, but…going on our improved structure, our improved management, our improved squad and our improved results, I am expecting better and would be slightly disappointed if we only managed 6th, our form is so much better than that. We are going to have slip ups but if we lose a 3rd of our remaining games and win the others we will easily make playoffs. Kro

      • StaffsBlue says:

        We still have to play the top 4, but they’re not the most important games. Lose to all 4 and it wouldn’t be the end of the world. We can still make the play-offs comfortably by beating the teams below us. We need to vastly improve our record against the bottom teams, which, so far, has been poorish. That’s our route to the play-offs in my opinion.

        • Luke says:

          That’s exactly right. When you consider that we lost at home to Charlton, Rotherham and Huddersfield, you wonder how on earth we’re in the top half at all.

          • ChrisG says:

            It’s that old cliche Luke, anyone can beat anyone in this league, and it seems to be fact as it’s happened over & over.

  • swissjonny says:

    Agree Staffs.There were days in the not so distant past where I had nightmares about our very survival.We have come a long,long way.Lets take every game as it comes.We will have good luck and bad but if GR can keep the team in good spirits then anything is possible. Rotheram stinks of a bannana skin- a 1-0 win would do for me cheered on by our brilliant travelling fans.

  • AdamTrueBlue says:

    Derby, Sheffield, Ipswich & Birmingham played 30 won 13, Brighton in 4th have only won 1 more game, we are very much in with a shout. Kro

  • Great blog DAN at the perfect time , and spot on chris G , Havent we all dreamt of being a hero after watching Rambo , rocky , high noon, Zulu , we Bluenoses have shown enough passion to beat any of the real life heroes in history , the way we stand is if we get promoted it will be medals all round for the kids and grandkids to show off , but a bit of a struggle to stay in the prem ,but the chance of a million pats on the back and the chance to say I was there , I was one of Rowetts Raiders , on the other hand if we stay in the championship and build the squad up to full wack ,we will have a better chance of staying there , we have not punched above our weight we have earned our chance , either way we will be on a high , so do we want a chomp at glory , do you want your families eyes smiling with pride , do you want 50,000 Bluenoses at Wembley giving you a massive KRO , of course you do , as Dan as asked do you believe , of coarse you do , NO LOSS NO GAiN COME ON LETS SHOW THEM PAIN….

  • Paul Hind says:

    £10 bet villa go down and blues to go up…….. I happen to think your’e right.

  • Luke says:

    Fans of any team are happy when achievement exceeds expectation. When we beat Arsenal to win the League Cup, it meant far more to us than it would have done to an Arsenal fan, because our expectations had been exceeded.

    I like us being an outsider for promotion, a dark horse. If we get promoted, it’ll be a fantastic achievement, far more than we dare expect.

    So what’s the difference between expectation and belief? For me, it’s this: I expect Birmingham to either narrowly miss out on a play-off place, or lose in the play-off semi. I believe, however, that with a little luck, a lot of Rowett cunning, and a huge amount of support from the fans that we might be able to pull off a miracle.

    Whilst believing in the team is great, we shouldn’t burden them with unreasonable expectation.

  • kazakblue says:

    I somehow like the name “Rowetts Raiders”, got a certain feel good factor to it, “Rowetts Raiders are coming to bite your bums” KRO

  • Mitchell says:

    Rotherham away. We have the players and we have the away winning mentality.What is now vital is the tactical side of who to put out on that pitch to start. Do you put Davis ahead of Fabbrini-Buckley ahead of Maghoma-Toral and Donaldson up front as a two. GR now has the tools and I expect to see an early start to this game with us on the front foot. Fabrini is a particular case of interest-if he doesn’t start then his likely role will be to come on as an impact player,which in time will destroy him. Dave Mann once said that any player being signed should go straight into our team-not loanees but actual blues players. I still go along with that. My only concern about our squad at the moment is the lack of activity for Vaughan and Shotton.Going back to the Rotherham game I would put Davis and Fabbrini in with Gleeson on the bench.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Blues playing Nuneaton today. Ryan Shotton, David Davis, David Cotterill, Diego Fabbrini and James Vaughan will play in the first half.

  • edd77 says:

    Next 3 games are massive 1 point from the last 6 available means we need to get at least 7 points from the next 3 games,we do that and I believe we could make it anything less and it’s no ,with tough games in March ,Feb is make or break imo

  • Dave Mann says:

    Until it’s mathematically impossible to finish in the playoffs then I will believe that we can do it , I’ve seen enough away games to keep my faith going , it’s the home form that will let us down from here on in if we don’t make it . KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      What’s your opinion of the 4-3-3 as opposed to the 4-2-3-1 Dave?

      • Dave Mann says:

        The 4-3-3 limits our forward options a little though bringing on Davis for Fabbrini last Saturday might have got us the points but who knows , we should be comfortable playing both but then you look at the opposition and what we have available and make a decision from there to be honest . KRO

      • ChrisG says:

        Staffs, I would like to see us play 4-1-4-1 against Rotherham with Kieftenbeld in front of the back 4 with Torel & Fab in the middle and Maghoma & Buckley out wide, that gives GR options to change things in the second half when we’ll hopefully be 5-0 up lol

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I’m not sure Toral and Fabbrini would be strong enough defensively tbh. We got a little overrun in midfield with Kieftenbeld and Gleeson in there on Saturday, so I’m not sure Kief could do the job on his own. Maybe Davis in front of the back 4, with Kieftenbeld and Toral slight more advanced?

          Tbh, I think Rowett might switch back to 4-3-3 on Saturday.. because we lack something defensively without Davis in there.

          • ChrisG says:

            I know what you mean, but I was thinking of more of an attacking formation instead of sitting back all the while. I actually think psychologically this could be an important game, possibly more important than playing the teams above us, we had a bit of a break before the next game after sat & we don’t wanna go into it on a downer.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            They should put absolutel;y everything they’ve got into the Rotherham game. They have a 10 day break after, plenty of time to recharge before Bolton.

  • David L says:

    Well the daft Derby chairman is quoted on the BBC site as saying he doesn’t want promotion this year….does that mean he’ll give up a playoff place or tell his team to lose?

    How can you imagine having someone in charge like that?

    As for us – along with teams around us, it’s all about hitting that run of form over the next 10 weeks.

    How to do that?

    If I knew that I’d be selling the secret in bottles and posting from the Cayman Islands. As I’m sitting in rainy Yorkshire, you’ll guess I don’t know the secret either.

    • Dave Mann says:

      I work with a Derby county season ticket holder and from what there saying they reckon it’s a relationship thing involving the manager and the owner and off field activities . KRO

  • Blue is the Colour says:

    A £10 bet on Villa getting relegated is a win win bet.
    If and its a big if they escape you get a pay-out to take the edge off all those Villa fans going on and on and on !
    When they go get relegated you really don’t care about the money !

    I think the defining point of our season is coming in the next few games you have to beat the sides in relegation trouble to stand a chance. Certainly would not want a play off final game against Sheffield Wednesday with the form we have against them at the moment.

    • I had a thought on the way to work this morning and it was that it was feasible that a play-off final against the Owls could be EXACTLY what happens in the end. Moreover, I would fancy us in a one off game at Wembley against them. The fact that they have done the double over us in main season counts for nothing on an occasion like that. It has happened before that a team that has beaten its opponents twice in the league loses the play off final; didn’t Derby do that against QPR? I may be wrong about that example but I know it has happened since the play offs were instituted.

      • Dave Mann says:

        I’ve only ever seen us win at Wembley ( 1991, 1995 & 2011) on those three three occasions and I’ve only been to Wembley to see Blues three times so that’s a 100 per cent record .. I don’t care if it’s Sheffield Wednesday because Ime confident at Wembley . KRO

        • ChrisG says:

          Dave if we were to get to the play off final i’d love it to be against Burnley, what a finish to the season beating claret & blue at wembley & getting promoted at the same time. Ahh well I can dream!!

  • WalmleySteve says:

    I think we can definitely do it provided we don’t get too many injuries, particularly to Morrison and Donaldson. We’ll need the crowd to get behind the team at home as well – St Andrews has been pretty quiet recently despite the good form. I’m relaxed about it all though as things could have been so much worse if we’d lost that game at Bolton 18 months ago. God knows where we’d be now if that had happened. For me, the most important thing is a change of ownership rather than promotion so we can finally move on from BIHL/Carson Yeung. The club is decaying off the pitch due to lack of investment and St Andrews desperately needs a make-over, although I suppose that if we went up we’d have the TV money to do something about that and buy players.

  • Ed Lane says:

    Can you imagine what would happen next year should we do the unlikely and get promoted. With no real investment in players, and I can’t see there being so, every game would be a nightmare. I would like the team to get promoted of cause, but I hate to think of what each match day would be like.
    Please lets get new owners who are prepared to invest in the team and the club before we really challenge for promotion.

  • DMC says:

    realistically therefore I’d say 7 wins is where we’re looking sprinkled with a few draws and assuming we’ll lose a few – the question is which 7 can/will we win?

  • GeorgeBW says:

    The greatest thing about this league is that anyone can beat anyone, so to be 3 points off the playoffs with people ruling us out of the running is crazy. The teams definitely been strengthened over January and we were only beaten on Saturday by a strong team, in form I might add.
    These next 2/3 games will be vital and a few good results will put us right back on track.
    I’m hopeful we’ll sneak into the playoffs but it will have been progression this season no matter what, that’s all you can ask for from the team in my opinion.

  • Bluey says:

    No i`m not a believer.Although,of course,it`s possible i just don`t think we have enough strength in depth and also believe there are at least 6 better teams.Interesting how 26 points from 16 games is not “particularly onerous” when it equates to 1.62 points a game.If the Vile achieved this it would probably keep them up and yet we`re led to believe they have no chance.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I think it boils down to the fact that we are in better form than the Vile and have more chance of getting the 1.62 points we need for the playoffs than the vile need for safety .. Just a thought Bluey ! . Understand where your coming from but believing is better than grieving .. I prefer the less stressful side . :-) KRO

  • Texas Pete says:

    We have to decide to believe. We have to invest our positive energy in Gary Rowett because his commitment and comprehensive long term plan is the best thing happening to the club for a long time. We must commit because we are supporters of our team and not discreditors. If GR is working with limited resources then we are even more important. If we get into the playoffs we will have played a part and if we arent successful in that then it is still a huge success.
    We the fans have to commit to keeping GR at the club. This will have power of influence on the club as well as GR and the team.
    Saying that he is going at the end of the season is just unfounded pessimistic speculation. Lets take the opposite approach.

  • atko says:

    I would like to say we will do it but I’m not overly confident. If we didn’t have to play so many teams down near the bottom then I might be slightly more confident! I have some software on my PC which tracks football results, tables, etc. It has the option to choose the played AND predicted games. Before last weekend’s game it predicted us to finish 5th. After that game we have dropped but it still predicts us to finish 6th with a total of 84 points…..wait for it……NINE points ahead of Derby predicted to finish 7th with 75 points!! I’ll take that right now thank you very much!! :D

  • The law of bad ass says if you go for the playoffs you would get nothing , but if you go for 2nd place you will get in the playoffs , which means we have to go for more goals .if you look back on how many goals we have scored from crosses and we will find it is mostly a waste of energy efficiency , as very few goals are scored from crosses ,we have to be more direct with passes or dribbles into the box ,

    • Mitchell says:

      Good last sentence William. Direct and shooting regularly will give us a better chance.That is why Maghoma is such a similar ‘stern John’ type that imo he is far more of a threat than Buckley or Vaughan. Build around him. Rotherham with Warnock in charge(?) will be tough and our best attacking eleven must take priority. Defensive priority may be needed for some games but not this one. Play Fabbrini and Davis from the start with Toral and Don. Forget Buckley and Vaughan and get Cotterill limbering up.Vaughan can always come on later.

      • Shirley Blue says:

        Stern John was an out and out striker – a poacher in the penalty area who scored his goals from close in – similar to Kevin Phillips. Maghoma is a winger/wide attacking midfield player. They are nothing like the same type of player. Buckley looks a great prospect to me and will get better as his fitness improves with games. We all see it different I guess.

  • Same thoughts here Mitchell ,…..KRO

  • swissjonny says:

    Davis must start.Warnock is no mug and I fear we may need to grind this one out.I never used to like Neil Warnock but he literally bumped into me at Paddington station last year and was incredibly polite and apologetic.He can do a good job for our opponents at this level.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Always been one of my favourite managers. He’s a mouthy get on the sidelines, but a gentleman off it. Old school and a character. One of a dying breed and the game is less colourful for it.

      • Dave Mann says:

        And a qualified ref hence is anger with them after is side as been beaten but as you say he’s a nice bloke and old school and says it as it is .. hope he’s moaning is head off Saturday evening …. Staffs would you stick with Robinson or go shotton centre half , I would stick shotton in and see him with Morrison because we’ve been crying out for one and after last Saturday he starts for me . KRO

        • Dave Mann says:

          I can understand why some fans would like to see him at right back instead of Caddis but surely against Rotherham we should give him a go at centre half , just my opinion . KRO

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Robbo’s a great captain and a decent player still, but I think after 5 or 6 games and you can see him wilting a bit these days, like on Saturday. It won’t hurt the guy to have a rest for a few games. Shotton will fit in nicely alongside Morrison I think.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    It’s going to be a scrap against a side trying to avoid the drop.Davis is a must in a 4-3-3.Would play Maghoma for his pace and put Fabrini on the bench.

  • I think Danny Ward and burkey will need watching of Rotherham if they play ….

  • Mitchell says:

    Away from Blues for a moment. Nasty little rumour around merseyside that the clown Klupp is contemplating using weakened team against Villa on Sunday. This in view of Carling Cup final at Wembley just around the corner. I know Staffs and Dave Mann feel the same as myself that until they are def.down-you cannot rule out their jacksy luck. Never forgive this Klupp if he carries this out.

  • swissjonny says:

    If that happens its an outrage!!! Im like Staffs and Dave Mann-I wont believe they are down till it happens. Anyway lets focus our energies on our battles.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I believe that the manager can pick is 11 from any of his first team squad no matter what circumstances arise , it’s not up to us or the authorities to tell him otherwise , he’s the manager he picks the team so I can’t understand what it’s got to do with anyone else , sorry but again my opinion. KRO

    • swissjonny says:

      Your right Dave.Its his choice.Its just hard to see anyone giving the Vile a helping hand.After all their delighting in our woes I so badly want the boot to be on the other foot. Perhaps I should forgive and forget-Im just not in that place yet!!

  • Happen they are fit and proper guys ,

  • Adam Johnson certainly aint , sacked by Sunderland messing with kids

  • Mitchell says:

    Like swissjonny I met Warnock in Richmond Park two days after his QPR sacking. He was considering then an approach by Leeds. I found him a decent man with a great presence. He told me that when he was manager at Bury he used to be in awe of Stans.and loved his visits against TF as a manager. Bury were always underdogs but still pulled off a few results against Trevor. As for tomorrow-I do feel his appointment has changed things and my preference for Davis to start has grown even stronger. Also I would expect Halford to play for Rotherham as he was always Warnocks favourite captain at Sheff.Utd and other clubs he managed.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Caddis shotton Morrison Grounds
    Gleeson Kieftenbeld Davis
    Toral Donsldson maghoma
    I did say yesterday about playing Fabbrini but after second thoughts let’s leave him on the bench with Buckley, Cotterill and Vaughan and the fire power there should be more than enough to beat Rotherham and Mr Warnock hopefully . KRO

    • Mitchell says:

      That line up is sound Dave. What does concern me is the expected non starts by Vaughan and Fabbrini. I am not a fan of Vaughan but this particular game does require an extra bite up front and certainly Vaughan would provide that. First half I would go 4-4-2 Rotherham need to be tested early on and Don/Vaughan would run them around. Don’t want to see Fab.come on if we are chasing the game or God forbid chasing to get a draw.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      That’s the exact side I wrote down a couple of days ago Dave. Play them in a 4-3-3, wear Rotherham down, then dismantle them on the break. This is almost impossible to predict now Neil Warnock is in charge. It could just as easily be a 1-0 to them as a 4-1 to us. I certainly wouldn’t put any money on either.

  • Dan Hickman says:

    I think listening to the comments from Rowett he is playing games with Cotterill and he’ll leave him out altogether to stew and have him fired up for the next few games. Agree about Davis needing to play, think when he plays though we may have to start making a choice between Kieftenbeld and Gleeson to gO with Fabbrini or Toral and give us more going forward. Rowett dismissing Derby talk good to see as well, think he was quoting your previous article as well Dan, was he?!

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