Often Partisan

Ambrose: The Next Piece In The Blues Jigsaw

Blues wrapped up their fourth signing in five days with the capture of midfielder Darren Ambrose from Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee. The 28-year-old was entering the final year of his contract at Selhurst Park and has moved to Blues on a two year deal with a further year’s option.

I will admit to being somewhat sceptical when news broke via Tom Ross’ twitter that Blues had targeted Ambrose. Having checked out his contract situation I couldn’t believe that either Palace were skint enough to let him go for nowt or that Blues were actually going to pay for a player but it seems my cynicism was completely unfounded. Whilst there is nothing official about the player’s fee the general figure I’ve seen online is around the £1million mark – which would make Darren Ambrose the most expensive player Blues have signed since the £3.5million capture of Curtis Davies in January 2011.

So what kind of player are Blues getting? Well, the immediate thought is one of a goalscoring midfielder – Ambrose scored thirty-eight goals in a total of 124 appearances over three seasons at Palace, including this blockbuster at Old Trafford in last year’s Carling Cup quarter-final. There are concerns over his fitness however with talk of him not being able to last ninety minutes and according to this article on Crystal Palace website “Five Year Plan” Ambrose struggled to fit into a more regimented formation – will he get the free role he needs at Blues?

With Keith Fahey out for the first month or so of the season Blues were potentially lacking a “creative force” in the middle of the park. Morgaro Gomis can play some good little balls but he’s not the kind of midfielder you see making lungbusting runs into and around the box to finish off moves in say the same way as a Jordon Mutch, and Hayden Mullins is definitely more of a defensive player. With this in mind I guess the hope is that Ambrose will play a more advanced role behind the front two or as the centre man in support of a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1. With Blues allowed to carry seven subs this year it gives the manager much more scope to change things tactically – which in turn makes it less of a gamble to have a player in the squad who is more specialised than a versatile player who can slot into various roles should the situation demand it.

I think the other important thing is Ambrose knows this division well. It’s not like he’s going to need time to hit the ground running – which with three other new recruits and the potential of a few more is going to be a big thing as they will need to gel quickly. I think there has been a deliberate intention from Lee Clark to start off his transfer moves with players who know this division and who know what their roles are going to be. I’ve been impressed with the speed and lack of fuss that has been involved with these transfers which hopefully should ensure that they all settle quickly and get a full pre-season so that come August 18, they’re ready for it.

Blues leave for Austria on Sunday with a much fuller squad than the one that began the week and a full backroom staff after the appointment of Huddersfield Town goalkeeping coach John Vaughan as the replacement for Dave Watson. There has also been confirmation that the three known trialists at Wast Hills – Lee Naylor, Darren Carter and Scott Robertson will not travel to Austria, and that the Academy will be heading out to Slovenia for their pre-season warm-up (as they did last year).

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43 Responses to “Ambrose: The Next Piece In The Blues Jigsaw”

  • I’m pretty sure Clark is moving towards a 433/4231 formation. I posted a possible team for next season on the clubs official forum.

    After trawling through a few Palace forums, it appears that Ambrose struggles in centre midfield 442 and was used out wide a lot. However, many Palace fans agree, that his best position would be in the hole behind a front two, or playing off the main striker with two wingers either side of him. I think this is where, he will need to be played, if we want to get the best out of him. Otherwise, we might find he will go missing in games more often than not. Either way, personally, I think it’s a great signing. One that has given me renewed hope for the forthcoming season.

  • Bluehobba says:

    Another positive move for Blues. A crap June followed by a great July and were only 2 weeks in to it.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Yes, positivity craetes good feeling and the general doom is lifting

    Me Shrewsbury and Barnet tickets came in the post and am itching to watch the boys now


  • nicky wicky says:

    does this mean Darren Carter is not going to be offered a contract or are the trialists still being assessed?

  • Pete says:

    A goal scoring midefielder is something we have been crying out for, in that there is little coming centrally. However, I am not convinced Ambrose is the right man for the job- based on the reasons mentioned before. He is mostly used as a right winger- our strongest area of the pitch with Burke and Redmond. However, if Clark is considering a formation change with King or Ziggy up front and Burke, Ambrose, Lovenkrands just behind it could be a very attacking style. Spector, Mullins and Fahey to battle for the Midfield 2 positions doing a lot of work could be ideal.

    I still think we need a bit more depth, especially at left back and left midfield and centre half 9get Ramage!) in case we change formations.What a difference a week makes:

    Keepers- Butland, Doyle and Lucas (would still like Myhill mind)

    Left back Murphy
    Right back- Carr, Spector
    Centre half- Davies, Caldwell, Ibanez

    Right Mid- Burke, Redmond
    Left Mid- ?
    Centre Mid- Fahey, Ambrose, Mullins, Elliot, (Spector if needed)

    Up front- Lovenkrands, King, Ziggy, Rooney.

    We also have plenty of youth players to be given a chance- but about 3 or 4 signings short- if the signings can be real quality(even if on loan) then we have a very decent squad!

    • nicky wicky says:

      blunders myhill you got to be joking. blues had the best home record last season but their away form was poor because myhill kept conceding late goals and costing the team points!

      • chris says:

        tosh , there was ten others in front of him just as cupable

        • nicky wicky says:

          chris you must have rose tinted specs. it took a lot of hard work from dave watson to get myhill up to speed, and he still made mistakes in away matches like the coventry game when he came off his line to give gary McSheffery a better shooting angle to score so blues lost to coventry.he also cant save a penalty.all the goalies blues have got now have a good penalty record even jack butland. If you remember we were leading west ham at the boleyn ground last year by 3 goals and they got 2 back and won a penalty. if doyle, or one of ht e others had been in goal it might have been saved so blues would have got 3 points.thats just 2 examples.

          • RichardM says:

            Sorry Nicky, can’t agree with you there, Myhill took time to settle and cost us a few points (Derby and Watford away spring to mind) but after that he was pretty solid and more than made up for the points he lost us early in the season. I’m also convinced that had he been in goal for the Play-offs we would have beaten Blackpool, two of Blackpool’s three were real howlers from Doyle’s perspective.

          • nicky wicky says:

            absolute rot. the weather on that day was terrible. you can’t blame doyle for those goals, most of the players had problems keeping on their feet cause the pitch was soaked in water. the match should have been called off. The first goal doyle slipped and dropped the ball,,,, and their second was a speculative shot as the guy was falling over. he saw doyle coming off his line and thought he’d try a lob!

          • Pete says:

            Nicky- as you say rose tinted specs- After all, you say it was Dave Watson that got Myhll upto speed. Yet he has worked with Doyle for years and Doyle is still useless at knowing when to come off the line and narrow the angles. Perhaps Myhill made errors because he had not played for a while (like C Davies did when he arrived here) but he is a decent keeper which was shown later. How can all good things be down to someone else in Watosn, but any weaknesses in Doyle is nothing to do with him?

            As I said- I would rather have him here. After the first 2 games, he had a superb season. I would play Doyle any day of the week for a pen shoot out- but if you dont rate Myhill due to his pen saves record, then that is pathetic. Sorry, but come on….!

          • nicky wicky says:

            myhill has played far more games than doyle. doyle is relatively inexperienced, and i’m sure if doyle had had the same levelof coaching as myhill got he wouldn’t be making those minor errors. you can’t blame him for thefirst goal in th playoff semi the pitch was slippery, it was tipping down with rain,and i saw him lose his footing as dobie shot so he didn’t get a proper block on his shot and it bounced under him!

    • nicky wicky says:

      how many goals did mutch score last season? ambrose is supposed to have scored 10 in his previous 2 seasons , and we’ve got Lovenkrands so LC is increasing blues goal ratio!

    • WycombeBlue says:

      You are missing one of the players that was a rock last year when he played – Gomis. When he played against Chelsea he was awesome – never understood why he was not given the shirt against Blackpool, since that is where we struggled against them. would have kept Ferguson quiet for sure.

    • chris says:

      Ambrose also can play on the left (as Redmond can) but not ideal, as you say he is right footed, though have seen him score with his left.

    • John says:

      It sounds like Pete would have been a better choice for manager,he seems to have all the answers ! Some people are just happier when they are moaning !

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    If Ambrose can be our Lampard or Gerrard I’d be delighted, but let’s not take too much stock of his goal against Manure after all we know what Jerome’s like despite his Liverpool screamer.

    • nicky wicky says:

      your not comparing ambrose and jerome are you? i don’t know why blues ever signed jerome. his ball control was terrible he couldn’t head it properly, and when he struck the ball he tended to pull his shots to the left. his left foot was just for standing on. he had and still has limited ability,and i’m surprised that stoke signed him!

      • bluesfreak says:

        Blues signed Jerrome m8 because of his goal scoring rate @ Cardiff , he was prolific but the reason why he was so prolific is because Joe Ledley created alot of his goals…(alot of balls played into space) but played into his feet he was useless.
        Stoke play alot of hoof balls so Im guessing they thought he would be just as effective as he was Cardiff

        • Pete says:

          Sorry Nicky, but disagree again. NOT ONE fan moaned when we signed Jerome a 19 yr old scorer of 19 champ goals. As previus post says- we never played o his strengths whatsoever. NEVERMIND, he was there to be booed.

          • nicky wicky says:

            well pete he spent quite a few years at blues and he never worked much on his game. when he left he was still pulling his shots to the left. he had one shot on target in 5,and he never really scored more than 7 goals in a season except for one when we had chucho!

          • James Black says:

            Im inclined to agree with Pete on this. Im not going to overstate Jeromes ability not at all but i hardly ever saw him used in a way that suited his game. I’m not saying his underrated but i am saying he never really got a fair crack and mcliesh had no idea how to use him. But Nicky is also right there are some basic flaws in his ability but i would of liked to of seen him played in a way that suited his game. In the end i think it all effected his confidence greatly and we all know that a striker that has lost confidence will not perform. But Jerome was a better player than it seemed but was given impossible roles by Mcliesh especially. I wish him well and if he gets his confidence back i think he can perform in the right role for him.

  • jdawes1909 says:

    I echo the feeling that the clouds are slowly lifting. I also feel that Peter Pannu and the administration team deserve real credit. They, together with Clark clearly have a strategy other than just to survive. To think in just a few weeks, the transfer embargo has been lifted, the kit deal scrapped with another in its place, a shirt sponser secured and players with experience in this league already on board. My only concern is losing Curtis before we have a replacement lined up. When I read the squad leaving for Austria I am thinking if Clark gets the format right we could have some fun this year.

    • nicky wicky says:

      Jdawes i think that LC is pretty clued up on the finances at blues. he has said today in the mail that no-one else will be leaving unless blues recieve a crazy offer. I’ve seen no crazy offers yet just some cheeky and speculative ones that the national press think blues will accept cause they’re still in the mindset that blues are desperate for cash!

      • James Black says:

        Absolutely Nicky. They dont seem to be aware we are not in crisis any longer. Was we ever really though i think much of the fear mongering negatives was made too much of and the hate of all things board was just going stupid. If there is no news to divuldge why say anything so that people can read crap into it and escalate the problem. Much was going on in the back rooms and the mess was being sorted out and that is not the time to talk. Im so much more happier that everyone now seems upbeat and believing again. The situation has changed but the work was being done to change it and that’s not a time for talking. CH leaving was never the end of the world but it was made out to be. People banging on about Holloway based on the fact that he kissed our arses in an interview suggests some shallow thinking here and there.We was always gonna be ok once the ngos would shut up and leave PP to do his job which it would appear he has done very well quietly.

    • Jamie says:

      I have to agree, Peter Pannu has taken some real stick over the past few weeks/months but he has shown how competent he can be in the past couple weeks to say the least! I think he was working under real constraint and under ridiculous pressure with all that has been goin on at blues behind the scenes and now he has been able to do his job properly (with still considerable pressure to be fair!) he has shown that he can get a lot done very quickly and with very little messing about! far better than the previous owners/board and all their procrastinating and at times just downright bull! credit where credit is due, the man has been going about his business in top gear and in a very shrewd manner of late! I think we as fans should be careful about knee jerk reactions and conclusions we were all jumping to, me included! things did look pretty bad for a while and i know we’re not out the woods yet but I do think Peter is one of the people trying to do their best for the club!

  • RichardM says:

    Great to see some experience and quality being brought into the squad – I just hope it doesn’t come at the cost of giving the chance of first team experience to some of the young talent such as Ntambwe, Packwood, Hutchins, O’Reilly, Hubbins??

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Ambrose is a quality addition surprisingly so in the circumstances.
    Also to now pay a fee for a player is equally encouraging.

    With talk of a possible loan move for Arsenal’s Benfik Afobe, its a reminder of 2006/07 season when Fabrice Muamba , Sebastian Larsson & Nicklas Bendtner came to St. Andrews .
    Arguably our best players in the Championship that season , a similar deal now with one of the top Premiership clubs would not go a miss now…..!!

    • maurice walters says:

      i agree blueboy what will our starting 11 be do you think my choice from avalable players would be
      burke/gomis/ambrose/elliot or mullins
      got some good backup as well please start soon KO

  • RichardW says:

    Every reason to be optimistic now. Come on, who thought even four weeks ago that the embargo would be lifted and we’d be signing the likes of Ambrose ? Well done Pannu and Clark.

  • ryley says:

    Cannnot wait for the season to start now, when a month ago i was dreading it ! kro

  • bluesfreak says:

    Loving all the positiveness, even I was a bit of a doom and gloom merchant at first, but that Ambrose signing has turned my head!
    Just another 2/3 loan signings and preferably from one on the top 5 and that should set us up quite nicely, now lets all get ourselfs down the Stans v Charlton, make the place itimidating and roar the lads on to 3 points and show them vilers down the road just how proud we are to support our beloved team


  • Bromsgrove Blue says:

    The Blue Roller Coaster goes on !
    It’s positve. It’s negative. It’s positive. We’re up. We’re down and seemingly out. Now we’re on the up. Would we have it any other way ?
    Pannu’s made some good judgements in seriously bad circumstances. Lee’s following on from Chris really well – I’m hopeful we’ll see the same continuity on the pitch. Whilst he’s not an out and out winger – Fahey has played wide left in the Prem. for us – he can do a job there if needed in the Championship..
    Some great posts from real, passionate fans on this blog.
    Block 5 is comin’ alive. KRO

  • bluesfreak says:

    Deffo not mate its whats being A nose is about , the turmoil,thats what made me choose Birmingham City as a fan from a family of vilers haha, I went the other way and chose to be a blue =D and never looked back since
    I’d like to see Redmond on the left and Burke on the right and rotate them frequently, just to keep the opposition guessing

    All the excitement leading up to the new season is overwhelming KRO!!!!

  • Macauley price says:

    Blues just need a few players like afobe , Townsend and Maybe sterling in on loan

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