Often Partisan

The Promotion Push

The international break is over, and on Saturday begins a sequence of eight games in 27 days that could be the difference between being playoff contenders and also-rans. Can we still dare to dream?

I was reading Shane Ireland’s piece for Made in Brum yesterday where he talks about how Blues have nothing to lose and everything to gain – and how he thinks Blues should go all out now to try and secure 6th place or better. I agree a lot with what Shane said – the signing of Kyle Lafferty means that we’re not so reliant on Clayton Donaldson now which is a good start but it’s also about how we set up games – and how direct we are going forwards.

I’m a believer that this season is very similar to the Chris Hughton one; it represents a very real chance to get promoted and I think it will be difficult to repeat next season. I’m not going to lie – as good as I think Gary Rowett has been for us I can’t believe he will be with Blues much longer if they don’t get promoted.

From what I’ve seen and heard Rowett’s not only good at what he does but ambitious too – and it’s that ambition I think that will see him picked up by another club. I could easily see him going to a club looking to push for promotion to the Premier League next season – or even a club in the top flight knowing they have a fight on to stay there.

I’d also like Blues to go into what is another summer of potential financial uncertainty with the possibility of Premier League millions in the bank. I’m not going to say all is doom and gloom – the word is that things are moving and maybe we’ll see some change soon but I have to admit I’ve now got to that cynical stage where I won’t believe it until I see it – and I’m wary about any new ownership until I’ve seen their intentions.

I don’t want people to think I’m a bedwetting type who throws his toys out of the pram – right now I’m 99% convinced we’ve blown any chance of getting into the playoffs. However, I don’t think that means we should give up trying until it’s mathematically certain – and to me that means playing better than we did in the first halves against Wolves and Fulham – and not having to frantically change things to try and scrape a win. It’s not about expectation of success, it’s about a desire to achieve more and to improve.

We’ve got the ability to make chances; we’ve now got a new striker to try and take those –  I really do hope that Rowett is driven enough to push the players for one last ounce of effort to see if we can go on a run to promotion. Hopefully this time in four weeks we’ll be thinking more about what might be, rather than what might have been.

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62 Responses to “The Promotion Push”

  • Singapore Brum says:

    I’d like to see a positive approach to games we really need to start winning, rather than sitting back and hoping it will happen later on in the game.

    Lafferty has to start, otherwise it will be the same old story and nothing will change.

  • Bluemat says:

    Gary has to be really careful how he handles this Donaldson/Lafferty scenario. I keep reading Lafferty this Lafferty that, like we’ve bought a prolific striker in. It is plain to see that Donaldson is going through a rough patch with goals but we don’t really need to replace a Donaldson with another Donaldson. Penny for the thoughts of Vaughan also who hasn’t been given hardly a chance at all. If i loan striker comes straight in ahead of me i would start to wonder why the manager has just signed me for next season. I don’t think we have quite “blown” our chances, we aren’t a consistent side, the consistent sides are the ones who get promoted, we are just finding our natural position in the league. KRO!!

    • john says:

      Quite right Bluemat. Our results have shown that we are a slightly above average Championship team. We have had some excellent performances this season and also some poor ones. We lack consistency and that is why we won,t get promotion. Also, until a new board of directors is in place and financial stability is achieved, to go into the premiership next season, would prove to be disastrous.

      • atko says:

        The Championship is the best club league in the world IMO for competition. Everyone reckons it’s the Premier League but for me The Championship is a far better competition. You cannot call it any season where as the Premier League is typically between 4 clubs, current fluke season being exception. My point is you talk about consistency but being the most difficult league to get out of very few teams maintain any kind of consistency for any serious length of time.

        Promotion to the Premier League would not be a disaster at all. Given that the TV deal has led to Premier League clubs receiving silly money how could that be a disaster for Blues? Even if we got relegated we would have the parachut payments that we aren’t getting now. IMO it would be anything but a disaster but we are a long way from that yet.

  • DaveP says:

    In true footballing cliché fashion it’ll go down to the wire at Cardiff…!

  • Andy says:

    I think that we need to start two strikers saturday, either Donaldson and lafferty or lafferty + Vaughan, Donaldson + Vaughan, i would be tempted to start with the latter and bring Lafferty on from the bench, also with a two we have the additional option of putting Fabbrini in alongside a Donaldson or Lafferty, however GR has not got a lack of options and the squad looks pretty strong on paper especially in an attacking sense imo.

  • ChrisG says:

    There are two things in football that are a fact, 1. managers & players will come & go and 2. The club will carry on regardless. If GR should look to pastures new then so be it, although there’s no denying he’s done a very good job, the fact remains he still has a hell of a lot to learn. I think GR can be a bit naive at times regarding team selection & rather than change things round in a bid to beat the lower sides that park the bus, he still plays the same players & system, and before anyone jumps down my throat he does have options. I think if we miss out on the play offs it will be that naivaty that will cost us. GR would do well to stay with us for at least the next 4 or 5 seasons to really learn his trade before even thinking about moving on. Let’s face it he’s at a club that does give the manager every chance to make a success of things & unless we were in a dire position in the league, you can’t see him getting sacked any time soon. Wherever we finish this season it still would be a success & I think GR should look to build on that.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I agree with a lot of this. Rowett has undoubtedly done a cracking job at both Burton and Blues… but he’s acheived absolutely nothing so far. If he had a bigger budget and better players, he might actually win something, then again, he might not. His record with spending money so far isn’t great… he’s done better with his free transfers imo. I’d rather him be here for the next 2 or 3 seasons to actually build something decent, but if he does go, then good luck to him. We’ll find a new manager just like we always do. Then we go again.

  • Blue tsunami says:

    Playing ‘conservative’ football has got us to where we are now, which is beyond where most of us thought we’d be a year ago. Failure to go up is therefore now a ‘relative’ failure. I do fear GR will go though. However, it ain’t over till it’s over and we could just put a run together that will see us avoid local derbies with the team that think they are in the city. If we do it will be totally awesome. I’ve seen people say we aren’t ready for it. So what, even if we came straight back down we’d be loaded with cash to keep our club afloat for many seasons, and personally I think we’d stay up as we play the evolving style of counter attack employed successfully by many top clubs now.
    I hear the lot across the city have a new board, I hope it’s big enough to cover the whole goal!

  • Pods says:

    The simple fact is what have we got to lose. Play with two strikers home and away.
    Excellent call from Bluemat. – If i was James Vaughan i would liked to be given a chance, if not why has Rowett signed me.
    It has to be 3 points at Charlton on Saturday


  • At Stans we are used to bucking the odds and going for it , I don’t know what problems that will cause TTA in buying the club but it shouldn’t make a difference , We need to go for gold , that is what football is about , so COME on blues you don’t want to let this chance go to waste , we crave glory , BLUE NOSE……….BLUE NOSE …..BLUE NOSE ,,……Get in there…

  • swissjonny says:

    Good article Daniel. Lets not lose sight of how well we have done in spite of our situation.Im afraid GR will go over the summer- as you say he is an ambitious guy.He will certainly get offers and who knows whether or not we can match them. Much as Gary has done a great job he has shown that he has weaknesses.Most of these are down to an as yet lack of experience.Whatever happens the club in some shape or form will continue. For now we must put all these worries behind us and treat every game as if its our last.Who knows -after all we are Birmingham City. The most surprising,enthralling,passionate and frustrating football club to support! KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    We’re gonna fall short but it would spoil the season if we went out without a fight … Play two up top and go hell for leather . KRO

    • ChrisG says:

      Dave i’m surprised at your negativity, all season you have been the cheerleader lol. As the saying goes it’s not over til the fat lady sings & she hasn’t even taken a breath yet. We have 27 points to play for Sheff Wed have 24 & there’s on 6 points between us. You know as well as I do that blues like to leave it til the last game of the season just to keep us on the edge of our seats!!. KRO mate

    • paule says:

      Just read that Lafferty got a groin injury & could be our for the season! I’m currently in Iceland (not the shop) so this might be old news.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I’d love to see changes that will fire us into the play-offs, but I think it may be too late to start pi$$ing about now. As much as I dislike it, 4-2-3-1 is what the players are used to and what we’ve played for 90% of Rowett’s tenure so far. What we need is the right players in that system.

    The defence, more or less, picks itself, with the choice of Robbo or Spector the only conundrum.

    It’s two out of three for the sitting midfielders, with neither Gleeson, Kieftenbeld or Davis being the complete answer. One tends to compensate for the weaknesses of the other two, but for me, it should possibly be Gleeson and Davis for the run in. Gleeson couldn’t tackle a tonka and Davis’ passing isn’t the best. Kief tends to fall between the two.

    The three behind the striker, for me, have to be Cotterill, Toral and Maghoma. Maybe Fabbrini replacing Toral here and there.

    Donaldson isn’t going through a bad patch, scoring-wise. He’s scored in only 5 of the 31 starts he’s had. That’s some bad patch. I’d be surprised if he didn’t start on Saturday though. Rowett’s not a risk-taker, so I think he’ll go with the tried and tested (for him)… depending on how certain players come back from international duty. I’d be surprised if there’s more than one change from the Fulham game. The play-offs are still an outside possibility and, while there’s still that chance, we have to try to make the best of it… starting Saturday.

  • Pods says:

    Blue to Finnish six on goal difference, how close is that, but that’s Blues for you

  • .KC says:

    Good stuff Dan and yes agree with Shane Ireland’s comments on Made In Brum. I think the consistency factor and being a little more adventurous will be key over the final 9 games. I hope Fabbrini can begin to show the form of last season. It could make such a difference.
    Agree with Staffs that it can only be 2 out of 3 from the sitting midfielders. Wish we only needed one but that is not going to happen.
    In front of them there’s now quite a few options. I agree again with Staffs selection but hope Fabbrini plays more of a part in livening things up.
    Will be interesting how he brings in Lafferty in relation to the Don and in addition be good to see GR get a lot more out of Vaughan to justify his contract for next season. Also more from Buckley to justify his supposed wages and be good to see us using VSO’s pace a little more.
    With the exception of certain incoming transfers and at times being over cautious thanks so much for the ride so far GR. Go for it Gary. KRO

  • ChrisG says:

    On a different note, I wonder if there will be any interesting news from HK tomorrow.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Uhrrrr NO Chris , I wouldn’t have thought so . KRO

  • John says:

    Kyle Lafferty could be out for up to 6 weeks I have just read following injury sustained on International duty.

  • Macclad says:

    Lafferty is injured and out for 6 weeks.

    99% certain of blowing promotion now becomes 100% certain.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    GR has been brilliant for us and has had a bunch of very ordinary players punching well above their weight for best part of 2 seasons. Sadly though, his failure to secure a play off spot, will be down to his abysmal failings in the transfer and loan markets. I pray that we may see a return to former successes, however our sit back and wait tactics have been discovered by all and everyone we play is on the front foot. The statistics are against us, but then there is always hope. KRO.

  • Mineheadblue says:

    We’ve got nothing to lose now by throwing in one of the youngsters up front, preferably as one of two strikers.

  • Mitchell says:

    Nile Ranger on his way.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Surely not ! KRO

  • Texas Pete says:

    My personal opinion is that GR is more likely to be ousted in one year rather than leaving especially with new owners or a successful campaign. It would be ego that took him to a better offer but his approach is long term and for him that includes his education.
    Our promotion push is as predictable as holiday weather unless you are a miserable individual for whom the outlook is always gloomy just to be on the safe side. What you project into the world will come back to you.
    I am enjoying the situation at the club and looking forward to a win at Charlton with 3 goals at least.

    • swissjonny says:

      Pete, I was mulling the possibility of us getting promotion and also having new owners with a bit of money.If I was head man of the new owners and we were in the premiership would I have GR as the manager to consolidate my team in the premier league.y An inexperienced manager with a weakness in the transfer market? It would be a tough call firing someone who had got you up but one that may need to be made.

  • ian ambrose says:

    Kyle Lafferty cos off 6 weeks and waste time friendly two game make hurt to him bad knee!!!..Must Donaldson and Toral both partner put on front 4-4-2 If win 2-0 up must 4-5-1 is safe…THINK TWICE PLAY OFF !!

  • Mitchell says:

    Of all the players out on loan I would recall if possible-Novak. He is employed until June so why not. If this isn’t on then go Don.and Vaughan or Toral for the remaining games. If Don.struggles then go Fab.and Vaughan. Plenty of options already in house.

    • ChrisG says:

      Your right Mitchell we do have options but GR always seems reluctant to make changes & i’m sure he won’t make too many now that we’re only 9 games away from the end of the season & still in with an outside chance of making the play offs. I can’t be sure but I don’t think any of the players out on loan have a recall option

  • andy says:

    Bad boy reputation but Nile Ranger has the potential, its now or never for him and a move to Birmingham is not a bad call

  • Lich Blues says:

    Spot on Dave Mann. Two up front and go for it. What is the point of pussyfooting around. Go for it. If we fall short (which I think we will) at least we have been entertained. In addition to this if things do move in Asia in time for next season what a great lift that would be.

    KRO .

  • Dave Mann says:

    Cheers lich, i know nothing according to some fans but trust me I have contacts and a lot of more influence than some people think . But as usual I will keep that to myself . KRO

  • clubclassblue says:

    Is it a good idea having the likes of Nile Ranger about the place if were trying to get the Reece Brown situation sorted?

  • Bloody hell Dave you are down , Come on mate , in this world of big brother and grooming we need your strength to get us through lifes CRAP , so come on mate paint your nose that colour and get in there , true grit mate true grit …..KRO

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Fabbrini, Buckley, BM and Vaughan tell fellow new-boy Lafferty his groin won’t prevent him from sitting on the bench

  • Texas Pete says:

    If, after the tests are done, Lafferty is injured long term what does that mean interms of the loan? Is he just packed off back to Norwich? Do we still pay the loan?

  • Mitchell says:

    Clear pattern now emerging with the quality of players coming to us mainly those on loan, and injuries resulting.Our financial situation dictates that players coming to us have rarely played during the season and therefore pick up strains,pulls etc when plunged into the fray. Vaughan,Lafferty good examples. It must be soul destroying for our manager to work within this tight beg and borrow structure which keeps leading us to the ever ongoing HK protracted circus. If I were GR I would find it more rewarding to blood a few of our talented youngsters and rely on our old guard for the next 10 games. If we hit a purple patch then great but signing loan players who have forgotten what a ball looks like is proving fruitless.

    • atko says:

      This has been my point on the last few posts. Few players who are playing regularly in the first team have gotten injured. It’s all the fringe players that have gotten injured in training or picked up injuries in the 10 minutes or so they were used. If you bring in players who are not playing regular football & bring them on for a 10 minute spell here & there then you’re asking for trouble. That’s why playing the same team week in, week out doesn’t work. It’s not just stopping players from burning themselves out, it also keeps players match fit throughout the squad if they get a fair number of games under their belt. How can you be match fit playing 10 or 15 minutes a week, fortnight or whenever?!

  • atko says:

    I’m wondering why so many people here are under the impression we will be looking for a new manager soon? Have I read Gary Rowett’s comments incorrectly because the way I have seen it/heard it from his interviews, he says he has a long term plan with the club. Personally I would like to think he could be with us for some time. Same too with our current chairman. Man Utd & Arsenal have had the same managers for years until Sir Alex retired. Neither clubs are short of silverware. I’m sure that is no coincidence.

    • Texas Pete says:

      Hope he stays a very long time even though promotion would be the worst thing for his survival. Still, must accept whatever comes.

      • atko says:

        As I said earlier, how can promotion be a bad thing? If we got promoted then came straight back down the parachute payments kick in. With the huge increase in payments to Premier League clubs from this season with the TV deal that would be massive to Blues. How can that be a bad thing?

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I believe that Rowett probably has a 3-5 year plan for Blues. Whether he’ll see out that time is another thing. He could be offered a better job, or he could be replaced, who knows what the future holds. Personally, I expect him to be here next season and put togther another tilt at promotion, if we fall short this season of course.

    • Bluey says:

      Both of them are big clubs with shed loads of dough. We haven`t and GR might just lose patience if he isn`t backed.

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