Often Partisan

Curtis or Pablo?

Lee Clark was forced into making changes for the Peterborough United game due to injuries – particularly in defence where Curtis Davies missed out and Pablo Ibanez took his place. Curtis could well be fit for the trip to Forest on Saturday – should he play?

On the face of it, the answer is “yes, of course”. Davies was one of the rocks in defence last year that provided a solid base for the team to build upon. Davies was a candidate for the player of the season award, having played more than fifty times in a marathon season, showing tremendous consistency and making him a potential target for Premier League clubs in the summer transfer window.

However, it’s not been like that this season for Curtis. In the four competitive games I’ve seen him play this year he’s looked rusty and out of sorts, making bad mistakes that undermined Blues’ defence and showing the kind of nerves that typified his early performances under Alex McLeish when he first arrived at the club.

I don’t think the start of this season has been easy for Curtis – having his future banded about by journalists intent on getting him a move to the Premier League couldn’t have helped his mental state; having a shaky midfield pairing in front of him that hadn’t played with each other in the blue of Birmingham before wouldn’t have helped him tactically and of course like the rest of the team he’s had to get used to a new manager’s ideas. All that being said, you would expect a player of his obvious calibre to hit the ground running and he just hasn’t done that.

It would be untrue to say that Pablo Ibanez has been like the second coming of Bobby Moore when he came into the team but the fact is that he was steadier in the Peterborough game than Davies has been of late. He gave a performance that whilst wasn’t outstanding was steady enough to deal with most things that this league will throw at him, and it does seem rather unfair to pitch the Spaniard out because of Curtis’ return to fitness given the Leytonstone-born centre back’s current run of form and the fact that Pablo gave a fair account of himself.

The game against Forest isn’t going to be an easy one; manager Sean o’Driscoll has a team flush with Kuwaiti cash and they have some excellent attacking options in former Blues target Lewis McGugan, former WBA frontman Simon Cox and Antiguan frontman Dexter Blackstock. The Tricky Trees are currently unbeaten in the league this season and have won both of their home games so far. Blues are going to need to be on their toes defensively as they look to start pushing up the table and I wonder if Curtis will be able to turn on the style that he showed so often last year.

I think it’s games like this that will be the test of Lee Clark’s managerial skills. Blues weren’t brilliant when they beat Peterborough but the fact is that they did win, despite the injuries that had taken hold of the squad. Does Clark bring back players who might not have been performing as well because on paper they are better, or does he stick with a winning formula and give those that have come into the squad like Pablo a chance to keep their shirt?

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24 Responses to “Curtis or Pablo?”

  • ChrisG says:

    No one but Curtis know’s whats going on in his head, but sometimes I think he just needs to get his head down & play, forget about other things that may or may not be going on off the field & play. Curtis is probably one of the best if not the best centre backs in this league but he has to play to his potential to prove he is cos at the moment he is becoming a liability. At the moment he look as though he has the weight of the world on his shoulders & doesn’t look like he’s enjoying playing at all, I know it’s easy for me to say, but he just needs to relax a bit & do what he does best…DEFEND!!. KRO

  • northfield says:

    I don’t think either Davies or Pablo can stop the inevitable, however I would go with Pablo as Davies’ form is so poor, maybe bring him on late on!

  • Cocka says:

    Davis & Pablo , Caldwell will become slower and more liability as the season goes on

    • nicky wicky says:

      Cocka seems loike your another doomand gloom merchant? 3gamesin and already blues are heading for relegation, ridiculous. Under St Chris we didn’t get going till mid Oct. Theres plenty of time to turn the season round,but i’d play pablo at the moment cause Davies is out of sorts!

  • Oldbluenose says:

    If the man in possesion, [ Pablo ] has played well, why drop him, ?.

    Only those around Davies at the training ground, actually know how his ” mind-set ” is at the moment.

    • blooflame says:

      The real issue is that they aren’t playing as they should because they have their doubts about Clark but they are also aware that there are a few new ‘uns and that it’ll take time. If Clark can instill confidence in HIM from the team, they’ll fly.He’s just got to find a way of doing that

  • Kaje says:

    Last season, Davies was absolutely superb from start to finish – this season, he’s started very poorly indeed.

    He missed out through injury, and Pablo stepped in and has looked far more assured than Davies. I’d like to see Pablo keep his place for now, with Davies having to work hard in training to show the manager that he’s capable of performing like he did last season.

    If he can’t, he’ll sit out like any player out of form would.

    No single player is bigger than this club, and no single player should expect a spot on the teamsheet. It’s with hard work that Davies will get through his off patch and come back stronger.

  • Bluemat says:

    Curtis hasn’t started well at all, last season he was, for me by far the best player in the team, never beaten in the air and hardly ever beaten on the ground. The start of this season has been an absolute mare for him but i think its because so much has changed in tactics, the one thing we did under hughton when we lost the ball was get everybody back behind the ball, nobody would pressure the ball everybody just got back into position, this season you’ve got caldwell trying to nick the ball every time ist played into the front man, were playing a highline and when we have possession the message seems to be hit the front man early as opposed to building play from the back. Last season the central defenders won the ball laid it to the deep lying midfielder or the full back this season you can see when the balls at their feet they want to pass but there’s no pass so there having to smash it long. Thats just my observation, yes agreed that curtis is poor but hes not the only one infact hes part of the majority but i believe it has more to do with the tactics then we realise. KRO!

    • nicky wicky says:

      bluemat i don’t think L?|C wants the players to hit long balls it’s just happening because the team is unbalanaced. we have noleft sided midfiefielder,and mullins keeps losing the ballor passing square and back!

  • evesham blue says:

    Simple answer – please dont tinker again Mr Clark. The only change I would make is bring on Lita and move Loverkrands to the left. I do believe Lita and King could be a deadly combo. My only fear is that Clark will tinker again and bring back ambrose or somemat. Good news that Fahey is on the way back as well.

    Personally I think the defence looked more solid as we had 2 proper full backs on the pitch for a change. This also helps the wingers out. Burke looked a little more like his old self again as a result.

    Davis – I think he has been unsettled with CH going and he also looked pretty upset with Zigic saga. I would drop him until he gets his attitude sorted out and he wants to play for the team/shirt again. He always had these spells in the past when he has looked dodgy at times like when he first signed.

  • AR says:

    What about the choice between Carr or Caddis? I would bring back Carr if he’s fit, even though Caddis was outstanding against Peterborough. The reason? Carr is an inspirational leader and Caddis has played in midfield. I think we would be stronger with the 2 of them in the team. As for Davies or Ibanez, I would pick Davies in the knowledge that he can be the best in this League; but if he’s having another poor game, take him off. I would also put Lita straight in with King with Lovenkrands on the left. Has anyone any idea why Redmond who, last season could operate on the left, use his pace on the outside as well as cut in & use his better foot to shoot, seems hesitant to run at the full-back?

    • krotom says:

      I think Redmond has been found out this season.Last season he was new to the league and unknown . This year teams will know how to play him.

      Can never understand why players are asked to play on their wrong foot, so currently feel for him. It will be interesting to see if he can learn and develop.

  • Tony smith says:

    I would like to see Davies restored to the team.
    Ibanez has no real presence as a central defender
    In the air he is not good
    In the challenge he is not strong enough
    If we want to finish in the top half of the table we will not achieve this playing Ibanez

    The manager needs to get his best players, Carr, FAhey, Davies etc into the first team asap

  • Ted says:

    Form is transitory, but class is permanent.

    It’s an absolute no-brainer! Of course Curtis (our No.1 defender) should come back in. The transfer window has closed, the squad can now gel and that MUST include Davies.

    Stephen Cladwell however, could be at risk. Though he’s a fantastic character and great leader, he seems to have gotten slower tis season.

    At Forest, I’d like to see:


    Subs: Doyle-Carr-Caldwell-Gomis-Redmond-Zigic-Lita

    How many Championship clubs could find no place for: Elliott, Ambrose, Mullins, Packwood or Gordon?

    When this squad gets settled, we’ll start flying.


  • Cocka says:

    Nicky wicky, you’ve got me wrong, Caldwell is coming to the end of his career, no drama no crisis! Just one of the reasons we started poorly. Sure clarkey will get it right and with a bit of luck might scrape in to the playoffs!

    • nicky wicky says:

      cocka if LC can sort out the left side of midfield and stop tinkering,and Butland can settle soon then this teawm is perfectly caple of automatic. theres only been a few games played so theres no need to pannick!

  • Paul Carter - The voice of reason says:

    Temporary loss of form happena but class is permanent and Curtis will sort it out.

    Another ex target of the boo boy filth.

  • NooBloo says:

    The press actually made Curtis a better player than he actually is last year.

    he performed brilliantly under CH who must have man managed him brilliantly.

    The same press then turned his head indicating that CH was looking to sign him for Norwich; however, in reality, CH has spent close to 10 million or more in defenders in transfer fees and compensation packages to other clubs and none of that 10 million was aimed at taking Curtis Davies to Norwich.

    That to me says it all from the man who got the best out of him. CH obviously knew his limitations and that he had over performed last year, otherwise, he would be plying his trade in Suffolk by now. CH knew he would never get value for money buying Curtis Davies

    I am not for one minute suggesting he isa bad player. He is not, but perhaps when someone wants to buy the most beautiful item in the shop window, then it is better to sell that item, rather than leave it too long in the window for people to identify the flaws

  • Tamuffblue says:

    Time will tell as for best selection – the good news is that we now have the chance to settle on Clarkes best team and hope we can put some form on the box to eek out the interested parties who hopefully are gonna resue the club from the barmy barber

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Curtis Davies was brilliant for us last year. This year he has been poor. Ibanez steps in and plays solid. Davies will be our no 1 central defender at some stage this season and probably fairly soon. In the meantime, his form dictates he will have to wait his turn. Caddis was brilliant on his debut and a bonus of his performance is that he developed an understanding with Burke and brought him into the game. He has to start at full back once again. There is renewed commercial interest in the club, Lita could become a major contributor. A few decent results and we are back on track…

  • jazzzy786 says:

    The 5 players in defence need to be consistent so they can develop an understanding. Instead of chopping and changing them every week I’d play

    Caddis Pablo Caldwell Murphy

    ie the same as versus Peterborough. Davies needs to be made to fight to get his place back and not just walk into the side. The same for Carr as Caddis was superb last game.

  • AR says:

    Does “Noobloo” think that Davies was going to sign for Ipswich?

  • Tom says:

    Lovenkrands on the left redmond on right Lita and King upfront with Zigic to come on in te 69th min, Caddis Davies Pablo Murphy at back

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