Often Partisan

Support and Growth

After picking up a yellow card each at the weekend, Maikel Kieftenbeld and Stephen Gleeson are one and two cautions away respectively from a two-match suspension for receiving 10 bookings.

With five games to go until the cut-off date (March 13), it’s almost inevitable that one if not both players will pick up a ban and Gary Rowett has already said in the press that he expects both to continue playing in their normal style regardless of impending suspensions. Although he mentions David Davis to come in as cover I wonder if this could also potentially open a door for players like Charlee Adams and – dare I say it – Reece Brown.

It is true that the emergency loan window is currently open and that if Blues needed to, they could go out and get a central midfielder as cover – but I’d only really expect them to do that if a player sustained the kind of injury that would keep them out until the end of the season. I do believe that Gary Rowett is the kind of manager who will look within his squad for cover rather than bring in a journeyman as “an extra body” – the promotion of Viv Solomon-Otabor to the first team seems to bear that out.

I know these are important games and it’s not the best time to blood new talent – however I do hope that should Kieftenbeld or Gleeson (or both simultaneously) pick up suspensions Blues would look to at least place one of their young talents on the bench in the hope they can get minutes in games to build up their chances of becoming proper first team professionals.

I’m not going to advocate throwing young players in straight away however. I know that there are some people who think we should, citing Wayne Rooney, Cesc Fabregas and Trevor Francis as players who made their debuts at 16 but the thing to remember is that all of those players were incredibly special talents. Most young players take more time to develop and as I’ve often said, the last mile in any young professional’s development is in their head; it’s one thing to make their debut but then they have to raise the bar further to become a regular.

I have to say, one of the things that has impressed me most this year is the sheer volume of u21 games Blues have played. There seems to have been an effort to get younger players to understand the strength, tenacity and will needed to play week in, week out by scheduling games as often as possible – and I think it’s given many players a chance to take their development further than if they were just playing Professional Development League and Senior Cup games. With the emergency loan window ending this season Blues need to be able to rely on their youngsters – while it’s also worth considering that by bringing through young talent the club can make itself more self-sufficient and less worried about whats going on in the Far East.

So – I agree with Rowett that Kieftenbeld and Gleeson should continue giving it their combative all. There are players behind them to support them and that in itself will contribute to the growth of the team.

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23 Responses to “Support and Growth”

  • edd77 says:

    I’m sure Spector or Shotton can play in them roles as cover 2.

  • ChrisG says:

    GR has previously said that he likens Charlee Adams to Gleeson, if that’s the case then should Gleeson get suspended we have a ready made replacement & with Davis to cover for Kieftenbeld we should hopefully be ok. If Gleeson should get booked early in the 1st or 2nd half one would hope GR gives at least 30 mins to Adams to give him a chance to settle in.

  • Spot on Dan young players learn or should learn a first team players likes and dislikes but they should be blooded in the first team to put these practice’s to bed in, so giving them the chance in the first team is a must , even as sub which as already been said , classing it as a see where you are appearance , when all things are suitable , I mean the reason why young players come to blues is that we have given youth a chance , we do not want to spoil that reputation , and players must be able to play with true grit to get us over the line , edd77 you are right Spector and shotten could play as defensive midfielders with the youngsters being blooded at the end …..KRO

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Hopefully, both players won’t be suspended at the same time, meaning Rowett only has to draft in one player… which should be Davis. I’m sure we can cope for a couple of games.

    Speaking of the academy, there was an interesting article in the BM yesterday (yes, they do have one now and then) ‘Birmingham City blog: Clubs are beginning to turn to technically savvy youngsters – and Blues are leading the wayall about how the academy works.’ by Chris Quinn. I found it a good read.

  • ChrisG says:

    I saw that too staffs & you’re right it was a good read & something to be proud of. It would be good if the national papers or Sky Sports picked up on something like that & maybe youngsters who get released by bigger clubs would see BCFC as being a good place to come.

  • Swedish Bluenose says:

    Both Jordon Mutch and Nathan Redmond made the first team debut at the age of 16. I think, for some exceptional talents, they could do it and gain from it. For others, it could be a disaster.
    But I’m looking forward to see our talents join the squad, be it Ronan Hale, David Popa, Wes McDonald or others.

  • The Flying Pig says:

    The point about strength is critical in the step up from u21 football. The loss of reserve team football may not be lamented but it has caused a bit of a void.

    • steve says:

      I used to wag school and go and be a ball boy at the reserve games. They used to play Wednesday afternoons at St Andrews. I saw some big names in those games and the young kids would get invaluable experience if this was still the case.

  • Andrew says:

    In some respects Davis should play above both of them anyway. Don’t see why he is subject to the bench most weeks. There’s no reason Gary can’t change it up a little to play toral or fab a little deeper. But I don’t think it’s in his mentality or tactics to do so.

    • ChrisG says:

      I would favor Davis over Gleeson, apart from his shooting & goal tally the rest of his all round play is better & one of the only midfielders capable of winning the ball in the air

  • It’s early days for GR yet with new personal the need for more goals will be an on going search for the right formula , to improve the goals total without loss of any strength defensively ……

  • Snow says:

    Partner the Dutchman with Davis for Bolton at home, he takes the yellow and goes on holiday for a week.. Gleeson comes back in, Davis gets a quick run of games, Adams sits on the bench, easy.. One mans suspension is another mans opportunity, we know Davis will be up for it and the likes of Adam, Brown & Mbende *should* be desperate for a chance to show what they can bring to that position.

  • Bluegirl says:


    Completely off track but I just wanted to share this with you:

    It’s my burpday today and our lovely Club have sent me a Happy Birthday e-mail with a video of some of the players wishing me a happy birthday. I know I’m a silly old fool and have generally given up birthdays but I thought that was a really lovely touch.

    Thank you, Blues, you have made my day



  • Dave Mann says:

    FANtastic Bluegirl and I hope you have a lovely day , it’s great that some fans feel that buzz with the respect our club shows our real fans and that’s reassuring , enjoy your evening . KRO

  • steve says:

    Dan any thoughts that if we get to the last match before the deadline Rowett may rest them both to ensure they don’t suffer a suspension?

    I’m wondering if whilst Brock is injured or getting back up to speed, if it wouldn’t be worth getting Ronan Hale on the bench he seems to be something of a natural goalscorer, something we seem to be missing a bit at the moment with the Don not being in tip top form in front of goal this season…? Just someone to maybe throw on in the last few minutes with Vaughan, to try and poach a goal…

  • Dave Mann says:

    It’s all going off at the Vile ain’t it , what a shame , my heart bleeds for them , the fans, the employees , the players , the bodyguards , the owners , absolutely makes our problems quite in significant one thinks ! :-) KRO

  • mattblue says:

    Hi all

    I was due to go to the Leeds game but it is cancelled due to their involvement in the FA Cup. I spent 20 minutes waiting for somebody from Customer Service to pick up the phone. Any suggestions/contact information on changing my tickets for another match on a Saturday? Can’t do weekday games as we live far from the ground.

  • steve says:

    If you’ve bought a ticket and can’t make the rearranged game you’ll get a full refund

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