Often Partisan

Squad thoughts

With Paul Robinson being confirmed as having signed his deal I thought it might be worth putting together a look at the Blues squad as it stands – to try and get to grips with the job Gary Rowett and Panos Pavlakis have to do this summer in the transfer market.


1st team: Tomasz Kuszczak, Adam Legzdins

u21: Connal Trueman, Jake Weaver


1st team: Paul Caddis, Michael Morrison, Jonathan Spector, Paul Robinson, Jonathan Grounds

u21: Josh Dacres-Cogley, Emmanuel Mbende, Wes Harding, Dom Bernard,

u18: Josh Martin


1st team: David Davis, Stephen Gleeson, Maikel Kieftenbeld

u21: Charlee Adams, Luke Maxwell, Charlie Cooper, Reece Brown?

Wingers/Attacking Midfielders

1st team: David Cotterill, Jacques Maghoma, Viv Solomon-Otabor, Diego Fabbrini, Andrew Shinnie

u21:Koby Arthur, Kyle McFarlane


1st team: Clayton Donaldson, James Vaughan, Nicolai Brock-Madsen

u21: Denny Johnstone, Alex Jones, David Popa

u18: Ronan Hale

The most obvious thing that stands out to me is how glaringly light we are in defence. With the departures of Neal Eardley, Mitch Hancox and Ryan Shotton we’ve got five first team players to cover four positions before we start looking at throwing in rookies. I think one of the huge mistakes that stood out to me from last summer is that we gave up on signing a centre-back after losing out on Rob Kiernan and I think it cost us at times.

Spector has not got the best injury record while Robinson is at a stage where surely he can’t play too much any more – surely, we must sign at least one centre back if not two? I suspect we’ll sign centre-backs in the mould of Shane Lowry and Ryan Shotton – ie can play at full back if needed to give us cover there without having to bring in more players.

The dearth of left-footed wingers also stands out massively and while I think we’ve got some talent in attacking midfield I’d like Blues to bring in someone who can offer us something different on the left flank. Although Demarai Gray isn’t left-footed we definitely missed him in the second half of last season and while I think Gray would be a hard player to replicate I hope Rowett is able to bring in someone who can go outside of a left-back as well as cutting in.

The hardest decisions to be made will be up front. Rowett likes to play one up top and I think if he does bring someone else in he must let at least Brock and Jones go out on loan to a) get some first team football and b) to see if they can cut it in league football. I can understand people wanting Blues to bring in a striker but I worry that Rowett is too loyal to Clayton Donaldson to bring in someone who will compete for and even take his place in the team – I love Clayton but I’m wary that he too is getting old and his newly found international commitments are likely to add to what is a heavy workload.

With no emergency loans next season I’d like to see more of the u21 squad utilised to fill gaps on the bench when needed; from what I’ve seen of Luke Maxwell I think there is potential for him to step up and if (big if) Reece Brown can get his head right then he will almost certainly be pushing for a game too.

Get this transfer window right and allied with the advances we made last season we could really do well in 2017 – at least this is my hope.



99 Responses to “Squad thoughts”

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As highlighted in the article, we are glaringly short in defence. It’s ok bringing in players who can play in a variety of positions, but more often than not, utility players play in various positions because they’re not quite good enough to nail down a permanent place in any position, i.e Spector, Lowry, Halford.

    It’s time we stopped p*ssing about and brought in speciality players at both centre back and left back. While we continue to bring in nearly men, we won’t progress very far. It’s ok having a small, tight squad, but every player in that squad has to be first team ready. You really couldn’t describe last season’s squad thus.

  • Dan McShane says:

    I’d be happy with:

    2 defenders (if we are to integrate Mbende more, I’d class it as 3 defenders)
    1 Left footed winger
    1 Striker

  • Ken says:

    Didnt we sign Jack Storer from Stevenage?

  • Big Al says:

    That defence definitely needs some attention. We really struggled to keep clean sheets particularly towards the end of the season when robbo ran out of steam again.

  • Steve says:

    Definitely a LB and CB. A couple of creative midfielders and a goal scorer. I also think we need another back up keeper, not impressed with Legzdins.

  • Blue Boy says:

    The list that has been circulated to agents is for recruitment of a LB, a left sided CB, CM, left sided wide player and a CF.
    No transfer fee and maximum wage of £11k per week.

  • Andrew says:

    more and more £3,75 million is looking more like a bargain for Leicester every day. gray is easily worth double maybe treble that to a team in the championship, especially now as he don’t look too out of place in the premier. I just hope a reece brown or a koby arthur can come along and make an impact this year, give us a cutting edge like gray did, because we definitely not going to buy anyone of any real quality, were down the pecking order with no financial clout. Without an attacking threat forget the defence we need to address so badly, I cant see us winning many with the one dimensional/predictable play we had last year. I’m not confident next year on the current team, it’s hard to see how you can be. Sorry but I just like to them win games not lose them.

  • Andy says:

    I would like us to try and get Robson Kanu in from reading, think he is left sided and would be a good signing to strengthen the left side, Gudmundsson from Charlton is an alternative, i was impressed with Ryan Fraser when he was at Ipswich last year on loan, but suffered an injury (not sure what situation is there?), wonder if he may be a target, tricky and pacey ala Gray… in midfield, obvious Tesche will be a target on a free, upfront is more tricky, I think Nick Blackman at Derby has struggled to find a path to their first team, could be ripe for a loan move and i would be pleased if we could get him in..Defence i think we need to have some experience added, so someone like Ben Turner, Gareth Macauley maybe?
    Its obvious there are targets and predominently they will be free transfers but i hope we can get at least some of the top targets in… Jose Enrique is still a free agent…

    • Dean says:

      I’d like us to sign, maybe on loan but try to get permanent, Ashley Fletcher from Man Utd. Been on loan at Barnsley and done really well. Impressed me every time I have seen him, and know a sensible Barnsley fan who has watched him in every game who really does rave about him.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Many so-called left wingers are just right-footers playing on the left and cutting inside. If we want that kind of left-winger, there’s none better than Cotterill (although, he’s hardly ever played there for us.) It’s a novelty to see a full back beaten on the outside these days.

  • Waycoolblue says:

    I’m expecting Charlee Adams to move up to the fist team. And for Ronan Hale to start integrating in to the under 21s. Alex Jones is perhaps the closest under 21 to the fist team maybe he could get a look in. But we need a striker that will slot right in for Donaldson. We need 2 CD + a left back A left winger and CM. that’s 6 signings. We need to get it all sorted as quickly as possible there is no emergency lone window so sort out the first team and then look at the under 21s that can help fill in when needed is a lot harder than it sounds. But lets hope it all gets sorted and we have a good season. KRO.

  • brocklebank says:

    remember burns from fulham=====he,s on a free
    did a good job last time before he was re=called

  • Dave Mann says:

    Exactly my sentiments Waycoolblue , six new signings pushing first eleven and bringing through Adams , Brown, Arthur and more game time for Soloman and maybe we’re have a chance otherwise it’s struggles all the way next season one thinks ! KRO

  • bhamcityjulian says:

    Third para after squad, last sentence s/b ‘right back’ shouldn’t it? :-)

    I’d sell Donaldson to give us funds for something different up front. Isn’t Vaughan
    The straight replacement for him

  • Bluepenguin76 says:

    I would probably agree that we need 3-4 good signings (left back,Centre half,Left winger and another forward for next year) Its going to be no easy task to get the right players on a budget.Hopefully Rowett and his scouts can pull off another Morrison or Kieftenbald.

    We really couple of the younger guys to make that difficult transition into the first team too..Hoping atleast two of Mbende,Harding,Brown,Adams,Maxwell or Hales can make that next step in 2016-17.

    Will be an interesting pre season as always.

  • Bluenose Geoff says:

    GR has said he wants 4 quality players I would suggest it will be a left sided CH,a attacking left back, a left footed winger and a Big centre forward in the mould of the Don . I would of liked Tesche back as he offers something different to what we have in the middle but with Maxwell and Adams coming through it will be unlikely he will spend funds for a midfielder.

  • williammorgan says:

    Blue boys recruitment list looks pretty good , I just hope the club don’t get too brass necked about not going above that £11,000 wage limit , for after 5 years of the club selling off a lot of quality players the fans deserve a quality player if one comes along, personally I would rather have three quality players than a lot of bench warmers , ..

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Agree with some of the calls for Arthur and Brown to step up to the plate.Both are now 20 which makes them older than a certain Delle Alli and look at the season he’s just had.They’re not kids anymore and it’s time to produce if they’re as good as some reckon they are.

  • TonyD says:

    We may get a windfall if Redmond is sold which can go towards new players. I wonder what the add-ons were negotiated when Gray was sold. I doubt if they thought to stipulate a payment if Gray helped Leicester win the title!

  • kirkus says:

    Does anyone know if 11k is about the right wage in the championship,another than the newly relegated clubs!!!!

    • Mirkwood55 says:

      11k a week is over half a million a year!!! Can’t see too many championship clubs shelling out that sort of money apart from their top players.

  • Preston Bob says:

    I hope we ship out Vaughan and Shinnie, I just can’t see them fit if we want to seriously chase promotion next year. It is not just about bringing in new players it is about improving the level of the squad so you need to get rid of those that can’t make the grade

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Vaughan.Just about everybody wants him gone but has he really had a good run in the side when we were playing well? I know he hasn’t scored a goal yet but during his run in the side our form seriously dipped and then he got injured.

    • Bluenose Geoff says:

      I think GR missed a trick the last couple of games to be honest I think Vaughan would be better playing along side the Don, we had nothing to lose playing 442 and trying it out for next season

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        A striker isn’t the easiest job at the Blues these days as they are generally asked to play on their own and run all afternoon so not easy if your used to playing in a two.

        • Mitchell says:

          Totally agree. We have ruined Donaldson. At Brentford he had attacking forwards alongside him. If I were him I would want out and join a proper team who don’t rely on one superhuman up front. As hill field says it isn’t the easiest job playing for Blues.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            The problem has been that there isn’t a link between Donaldson and the midfield. It’s supposed to be the No.10s job, but that rarely worked through the season. How often did Toral or Fabbrini get close to Donaldson.

            Basically, Donaldson’s job is to be a wall for goalkicks and hoofballs to bounce off. You don’t need a striker for that. Dreadful tactics.

  • Gary R says:

    Looking at the squad I think we need 5 players. A mix of permanent and loans. I know there’s the argument about loans and the commitment levels, but I think too much onus goes into thinking along those lines. Although they bent the rules slightly, Watford had all those loans and were challenging and no one questioned their commitment. As long as they get us challenging in the top half and a playoff position, does it really matter?

  • Let’s hope with new players the striker force can attack more ..as a group…

  • Brumbie says:

    Next season is going to be tough and money will as ever talk, Newcastle and Villa will splash the cash to try and get back up Norwich will be up there along with Derby and Brighton. The relegated teams have the added bonus of the parachute payments giving them an advantage they will also get good gates all of which will make it tough for any teams hoping for promotion. GR will have to spend whatever he is given wisely and hope we are fortunate with injuries. Most clubs will find it.difficult to compete but I am confident that under Rowett we can have another decent season but until we have some new investment automatic promotion will be toon big an ask

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      The thing you have to remember is that Blues finished comfortably above clubs with far superior squads like QPR,Fulham,Blackburn and Forest.Wolves bought Joe Mason for 3 million and Bristol City bid 6-7 million for Andre Gray before he went to Burnley.My point is that although money helps it’s not allways the ones that can spend that get all the success.Ask the new premier league champions.

      • V4Life says:

        All the clubs you mentioned were a mess when they came down. All our crap players will be sold or are out of contract, and with 40 million to strengthen the squad we will be back up. Lets not try and delude ourselves and face up to reality.

  • If all divisions have 20 teams and clubs are penalised with a 10 point deductions still. a lot more teams will slide down the slippery slope of relegation unless the rules are changed for the lower leagues…

  • Brumbie says:

    Money doesn’t always bring success but it makes it far more likely the bigger your revenue by that I mean gate money,sponsorship, parachute payments ect. Will mean clubs like Newcastle and Villa have an advantage.
    These clubs will generate money through gate receipts and sponsorship deals we won’t be able to compete with them financially so we will have to make sure what we have is

  • V4Life says:

    To right we will be financial force now the we have a Chinese owner backed by the Chinese government. So the plus outcome of being relegated:

    – Bye bye to Lerner
    – We will get a chance you spank you clowns home and away for a season on our way back to the PL.

    • bhamcityjulian says:

      Be careful what you’ve wished for

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Every year we hear fans of relegated Prem clubs saying the same thing.”We’ll bounce straight back up” and “It’s just a blip”.The truth is my friend is that only 23% of clubs relegated from the Prem go straight back up the following season,to you that means less than a quarter so I would try and make yourself a bit more comfortable playing championship football,your probably going to be here longer than you think.

  • John says:

    I reckon Rowett will go for another rb as I don’t think he rates caddis too highly. He dropped him more than once and cited his lack of height too quite often.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Caddis would probably make a better winger lol. He does well charging forward, but too often, he gets caught upfield. The opposition just chip the ball in behind him and he’s out of the game. I think that’s what p*sses Rowett off about him. As a full back, you have to know when to twist and when to stick.

  • kirkus says:

    Good morning all,does anybody know what the three relegated clubs will get in parachute payments for the upcoming season!!!!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think that next season, it’s going to be twice as hard for a Burnley, a Norwich or a Watford to finish in the top two. With all the parachute payments and the big crowds, I think the likes of Newcastle and villa will throw money at it and go for a quick return to the premier. I know money doesn’t guarantee success, but it certainly helps. The fact that the likes of Fulham and QPR haven’t done so well isn’t down to money, it’s down to rank bad management of that money.

    Without 4 or 5 quality additions, we’ll do well to finish mid-table next season.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Newcastle and vile through money at it this season but still got relegated and hopefully they will throw money away again next season and still be in the championship .. My heart bleeds for the Geordies and the scum it really does lol . KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    That’s ” Threw ” not through

  • Mitchell says:

    This new season is a great time for Panos and Rowett to beat our drum during the summer break. With new owners etc across the city and record crowds expected-especially if they get off to a good start,it could leave a huge gulf in home support. Panos/GR have always asked for good home backing and it is now their turn to upbeat us and create a feel good factor during June.Not asking the earth,but with decent additions and a genuine belief of progress our gates should tip the 20,000 + mark.As said,Never a better time for our two in charge to ‘sell it to us’.We are more than ready buyers.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think that what we’ll actually get, is the usual silence. The only time we’ll hear anything is when we make a signing. Even then, I doubt it will be anything too exciting.

    • Dave Mann says:

      Unless we do better than I anticipate then we will only break the 20,000 mark on maybe 2,3 occasions and one of them will be vile and the other two maybe the dingles and a game with cheap tickets …. Only new owners , new investment and better players will pull the the crowd in and I hope that’s sooner rather than later . KRO

  • I hope gr doesnt pick all hasbeens to get us in the playoffs , as there is some good under 26 players out there with no fee …..he who dares wins GR. he who dares..KRO

    • Mitchell says:

      Good point William. This new season will certainly reveal whether GR is the man for us. Sooner or later he has to let go of the ‘man who bettered Lee Clark’. Signings not just the issue but how he uses them – no mothballing is my plea to him-too many bench warmers recently for my liking.

  • Walker says:

    Vile 4 life good lord. Why dont you stop being such a keyboard warrior and get back on your sister tit

    Good look with Carson the 2nd lol

  • Bham4life says:

    Dan you must have contacts st the club I cannot stress enough how to strengthen the squad. By picking up sawyers Bradshaw and Henry from Walsall. Left back att mid and a striker are needed and these are hungry and arguably better than what we have so have a word in Gary’s ear

  • StaffsBlue says:

    The BM reckon we could be after 31 year-old Antenucci of Leeds. Personally, I think we should be aiming at a lower age group. We already have one veteran striker.

  • williammorgan says:

    I think GR is having a laff ,Antenucci is not a striker as he is not a good header of a ball , and his goal rate is not good enough to be quality , and he plays at no 7 , which means cotts will play on the left wing which will mean he is the left footed winger GR is on about , or a bench warmer for cotts , am I losing the plot ???

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think someone is mate… but I don’t think it’s you. With the names that are being bandied about, I’m starting to feel a bit depressed myself!

  • Dave Mann says:

    Can’t expect much more staffs , sorry mate but it’s going to be a loooong summer !!! KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    What is normal ? ..I know what you mean mate but the quicker we get this ownership sorted out the better we all will feel I think and we can get on with pushing forward and not only trying to get near the top six but take six points of those dickheads in a little district called Aston and start showing them who’s boss .. Let the summer be hot then we can start warming up even more for the new season with hopefully a squad that can compete . KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Although it will be good to rid ourselves of the CY/PP era, we’ve no guarantees that the next lot won’t be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire. I’ll reserve judgement until they’ve shown their hand.. at the very least.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Let’s hope the vile new owners are as skint and inexperienced as I’ve been informed and borrow millions of pounds to keep hold of the club and put them in a similar position to us . Let’s hope so . KRO

  • Tony says:

    The crap have been sold and have money, and this ridiculous charade is still going on as far as we are concerned.
    All the names mentioned are no hopers, Staffs was quite right Utility players play in several positions and are not good in any, sick and tired of this now I just want it done.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Don’t we all !! KRO

  • williammorgan says:

    Blues said target Sawyers offered better 3 year contract by Walsall…KRO

  • Mitchell says:

    At a time when Villa are buzzing with anticipated excitement-would it not be too much to hear a few words of optimism from our top men in Panos and GR?. Not much to ask is it?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Are vile buzzing with anticipated excitement .. I don’t think so Mitchell ..let’s not get ahead of ourselves please .. Ime on the pulse and they are very worried about the situation .. you heard it here first . KRO

  • Tony says:

    exciting times for the vile and we are talking about third rate players.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Vile are not buzzing with anticipated excitement Mitchell .. In fact they are worried sence less so let’s cut out the over dramatics yes !! .. They think it’s over to them to suffer what we have suffered the last five years .. Everything is fine .. Keep calm and support the Blues !! KRO

  • Blue Eyed Boy says:

    Give Robinson the number : 1000……. PLEASE!

  • williammorgan says:

    Sawyers not good enough at finishing ,or heading for an attacking player in the higher leagues ..KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    So why mention him!!KRO

  • williammorgan says:

    Rumour has it we are in for him , unless it is GR scattering the paper chasers , also Tony Watt is mentioned who is rated as worth a punt KRO

  • Dave Mann says:

    Stop !!!

    • Mitchell says:

      Dave. William is just quoting what is doing the rounds-Sawyers,Watt,Bradshaw,Burn etc. that time of season. No doubt GR is sorting it all out but as commented earlier he really does need to get it right this time with no benchwarmers the key word.

  • williammorgan says:

    Keep right on ,,

  • williammorgan says:

    Thanks for that …….I think Mitch ….to be honest I ain’t happy with any of the recent suggested signings , but like staffs the most annoying thing is the silent treatment to the fans , as if the club is a separate entity to the fans , and yes I am all for the Barry fry atmosphere , the high noons , the rocky feeling , Zulu , an old twinpot motor bike between my legs , sporty cars ,hey I’m still a big kid ,

    • Dave Mann says:

      Yeah sorry William , you keep throwing those names out mate and maybe just maybe one of them might sign for us IF they are good enough to get in our team . KRO

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Last summer, Mr Rowett inferred that we’d all be pleasantly surprised by his signings. Well that certainly fell flat on it’s ar$e. I’m just hoping that this summer’s signings are a bit more imaginative. One lives in hope.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Staffs.What do you really expect given our predicament.GR can only deal within the financial constraints he is given and that probably doesn’t allow him to sign anybody that might particularly excite us at the moment.I’m sure that he would like to replace the whole bloody lot of them in an ideal world but until we’re sold he’s not going to be pulling up any trees on the transfer front unless TTA plough in another 10-15 million and I just don’t see it.The bottom line is that I don’t think he even knows himself what his budget is this summer and with all that’s going on in HK I don’t really envy his job at the moment He’s probably just like the rest of us sat here waiting for this bloody takeover to happen.

      • Mitchell says:

        Hillfield. Yes it is true about the constraints that GR has to live with. However what disappoints is the loan players who have been recruited on fairly big wages eg Buckley,Lafferty and of course the so far wasted BM deal. As regards not envying GR his job-then I for one would have walked a million miles with bread and water for payment just to be manager of BCFC. It is such a priviledge. GR is lucky and good luck to him,but he is an employee of a wonderful club with fans who expect him to improve what we already have and so far the jury is imo defineatly out.

        • Hillfield Blues says:

          The thing is Mitchell,I don’t think Pep Guardiola would have got us into the playoffs given the same hand of cards.For a long time this season GR has had us running and competing with the best sides in the championship and it was a bit like trying to win the Grand National on a donkey.I value all points of viewin this great blog but let’s get it right,GR cannot be properly judged until there is a level playing field between us and our competitors.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Hillfield, it was Mr Rowett himself that said that, not me. If he can’t deliver on his promises, I suggest he keep it zipped!

  • Dave Mann says:

    Next season will tell us everything we need to know about Rowett Mitchell so he’s got to get it right during the summer and spend whatever money we have wisely and not waste it like he has on some deals . KRO

    • Mitchell says:

      Yes Dave. Agree-big season for GR.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Sorry boys but I just don’t agree.Ok by his own admission some havn’t worked out but with the sort of money he’s playing with he’s going to get some that don’t..Kieftenbild and Morrison were both very good signings,Fabbrini will come good I’m sure.Maghoma has done ok and Kruzack has been solid enough.Brock-Madsen and Vaughan didn’t work which leaves you with the loanees of which Buckley was a flop,Toral was a hit and Lafferty wasn’t really around long enough to make a judgement.
      To finish in the top 10 for the last 2 years is about the best he can do with the obvious constraints he has do you not think?

  • williammorgan says:

    I think GR should go for 2 ready made player instead of 4 may make it players , as if they don’t make it , it will stop us from progressing , shotton was already with us so buy Tesche and Tomlin and keep shotton , I have nothing against people making money as long as everybody benefits that are helping them make that money ,. I don’t recall TTA giving blues any money , and there was 6 other consortiums willing to do the same , so hey let’s not get to teary eyed about TTA .KRO

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