Often Partisan

Keep the Faith?

Saturday will see Birmingham City return to league action in the Championship against Lee Clark’s former charges Huddersfield Town. After an injury crisis which necessitated 17-year-old Reece Hales making his debut against Leeds, Blues’ selection crisis looks to ease with the return of players from suspension and injury. However, by many accounts Blues played well at Elland Road and the question has to be asked – does Clark keep the faith with his young charges?

As I wasn’t at Elland Road to see the game I can’t comment first-hand on player performances and I am reliant on the reports of others from the game. That being said, there does seem some consensus that Blues played very well with Ravel  Morrison and Nathan Redmond linking up well up front and Chris Burke returning to his imperious best on the right. Morgaro Gomis and Callum Reilly have also received plaudits for their roles in the engine room of the Blues side, and the question has to be asked – should Clark change things to bring in some of his returning big-hitters?

I think the big question is going to be in the middle – not just bringing back players like Hayden Mullins but also looking at moving back players who have filled in up front like Morrison because of the return of Nikola Zigic and possibly Marlon King and Peter Lovenkrands. Blues have struggled at times in the middle of the park this season, with quite a few games seeing the midfield just over-ran and failing to put their mark on the game. I know that there a lot of critics of Hayden Mullins but I am of the personal belief he isn’t quite as bad as people have made out and that prior to his injury he was contributing to Blues when they were on top.

However, if reports are to be believed that Reilly and Gomis had such good games I don’t think either player can be dropped. I can see that Reilly has limitations – he’s still only 19 and he’s just making his way in the professional ranks but I also think he brings a lot of energy to the side and that energy is something we have lacked. Similarly, from what I have seen of Gomis since his recall to the first eleven he has looked like a decent enough Championship player. He might not have the physical presence of a Diop for example, but he does like to hold onto possession and to try to use the ball in a way it gets spread around. Blues have had issues with not being able to hold onto the ball and that ability to retain the ball is important if we are to do better.

Up front Blues have lacked a physical presence as such but again, the reports were that Morrison and Redmond looked much more threatening at Elland Road. Marlon King’s injury is the kind that needed rest and I don’t have a problem with leaving him on the bench if he is fit to use as an impact player, a plan “b” as you will and to ensure his return from his knee injury is a gradual one. I think Zigic might get the nod to play as a lone man up front with players like Elliott, Burke, Redmond or Hall playing off him, picking up the scraps and feeding off the big man’s flicks and touches.

The only place where Blues will definitely have to make a change is right-back after Will Packwood’s horrific injury. If Caddis doesn’t make it back in time for the Terriers game I’d honestly think about putting someone there like Mullins or Spector (if either are fit) to try to ensure that we have someone in the position with a right foot. I think the option of playing Paul Robinson at right-back should truly be the last resort – as much as I think the former Bolton and WBA man has done well for us I do worry when he plays on what is his wrong side.

It’s going to be interesting to see which way Clark goes; there is no doubt he was impressed with the Leeds performance as he praised every player and I can imagine he’s thinking of keeping with the same team to reward the good play. However, I can also see Blues fans being disappointed if he does that and names two or three strikers on the bench. It’s a tough call.

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48 Responses to “Keep the Faith?”

  • chris says:

    He has to play a balanced side i.e proper strikers and as you say players that retain the ball.
    I confess i do like Gomis over Mullins, but both have had highs and lows on the field this season.
    Besides the strikers i would keep faith with the rest, with Spector at right back.

  • StevieW says:

    I think he should stick with the team that went to Leeds and have a bench that can change things if needed. Agree with the RB position, Mullins has played OK there before for us.

    Nobody had a bad word to say about the Leeds game, a refreshing pause in the slagging, counter slagging and blame frenzy we have on an almost daily basis.

    Keep the Faith on this one.

  • Walker says:

    Hi I went to Leeds and it was a good performance. Leeds probably weren’t at there best but I am not trying to put blues down, the attendance wasn’t great and there was a lack of home atmosphere at times. Morrison and Redmond put a shift on and linked well at times but I would be inclined to put king back in over one of the two,maybe Morrison. We lacked quality in the box and king is our main man this season. Doyle also played well and caught everything in the air. His kicking from back passes and running after the ball with he parachute on his back still concerns me at times. I would put Hancock in and move Robinson accross as Spector and Mullins don’t cut it for me tbh.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    Spent yesterday sorting out the trip and can’t wait, also spent some time buying my Leeds tickets for the replay having also attended the away leg.

    What I didn’t do is sit at home thinking up reasons not to go and watching the Wembley DVD

    • Masaccio says:

      You need to stop bringing bad karma down on the people who genuinely can’t afford to go to games. I’m sure if times were different and there wasn;t a world recession the place would be busier, but I’m guessing people need to prioritse and make sure families are fed and clothed.

      • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

        Where did I direct my comment at those who can’t afford it?

        Where did I say forget your bills and your kids?

        Oh look I didn’t.

        What makes me sick is blocks of empty seats, the likes of Wigan, Reading, Norwich,Sheffield getting bigger crowds, post after post on the net from people who call themselves fans but never go but who demand better football and Clark out. Is this recession just in Small Heath?

        I applaud every fan on here who puts money into BCFC. Without you our club is dead.

    • alexjhurley says:

      That’s genuinely funny Paul.

      I won’t be going to Huddersfield because I don’t like the colour of the tickets. Clearly Pannu’s fault.

  • andy says:

    Blues are way to lightweight upfront and it certainly needs either King or Zigic to come straight back in, for me it should be both.

  • andy says:

    [comment removed]

    No politics. End of, FACT.

  • the badger says:

    What a difference its made having a central midfield two who actually compete for the ball! I didnt go to Leads but we stopped Cardiff playing, Mutch was taken off! All thus season I have watched Mullins jog about in midfield almost closing people down but not quite. Thats why we made Barnsley look like Barcelona. Considering Gomis hasnt started this season he was a revelation coming on against Cardiff. I can remember at least 3 occations when he dumped Cardiff players on the floor and left them rubbing a bruise,; i.e. they knew he was there, excellent. So if Mullins is fit I would leave him on the bench, theres a nice one in Cannonhill Park, he could feed the ducks.

  • Blueboy88 says:

    Is there an injury update on Murphy, Ambrose, Lovenkrands, King, Papa Don’t Leech etc ?

    • almajir says:

      Murphy – out for the season (as confirmed in November)

      Lovenkrands/King – referenced in the article. Could be back on Saturday

      Ambrose – no idea

      Papa – still out, contract up 17 January, could well not be renewed

      • almajir says:

        Andy Walker on Ambrose:

        Gaffer not keen to put a deadline on his return but said he’s getting there.

        (via twitter)

      • maurice walters from thailand says:

        Al am i the only one who wonders what the problem has been with Fahey he seems to have been away for so long or is it sensative

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    Tweet from Lee Clark ‘It’s getting better. We’re monitoring King, Lovenkrands, Spector & Caddis in the build up to Saturdays game’ #BCFC

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    Tweet from BCFC ‘Nikola Zigic will be back in contention after returning from suspension while Rob Hall returns after last weekend’s cup tie.’ #BCFC

    • Ali Duncan says:

      Encouraging news regarding players possibly returning. I have a good feeling we’re going to get something from this game. Looking forward to it.

      KRO.

    • almajir says:

      Tom Ross has also tweeted that Keith Fahey is meeting with club officials soon to update them about his personal situation… and that Lee Clark has no plans to move him on.

      • Blue in Spain says:

        That really isn’t want the conspiracy theorists want to hear!

        • Blueboy88 says:

          A few shafts of golden sunlight , penetrating the grey murky skies over St Andrews…

          • Ali Duncan says:

            I totally agree. Players coming back, the accounts finally out (even if they don’t make great reading) and hopefully a more positive attitudfe about the place with a cup replay coming up and hopefully a decent turn out for a 4th round tour against one of the premier leagues glamour sides. Roll on mid-table stability and our great club being sold.

            Nothing like being a little positive in the new year! Bring on Huddersfield.

  • Chris Quinn says:

    I’d sooner play with Redmond and Morrison up front than have Zigic anywhere near the squad again. Utter moron.

  • nicky wicky says:

    I’d keepfaith with the same midfield as Leeds and play Hancox at left back, and give Doyle a run in goal. PLay king and zigic up front and see if that makes a difference to our results. i know Doyle made a howler for Leeds goal but we didn’t lose the match did we and they’re pushing for promotion! If we’d had some proper strikers on the pitch we’d probably have won the match.

  • James says:

    Mega positive and up for this!

    Got tickets in the post this morning and can see 3 points; stick with the kids, get at them from the off

    Also good to see Tom Ross on Twitter asking some direct questions to PP today

    KRO

    • Ali Duncan says:

      I hope it’s a good turnout. I’ve been warming up the vocal chords all week and will be in particularly fine voice come 15.00 Saturday.

  • quokkasskip says:

    Morrison stated last night on twitter that he was going for a scan on his groin this morning? Seen anything Dan?

    Away from home the kids upfront is an option. So if Morrison is fit I would keep the same team, or even put Hall in for Morrison upfront.

    For once we have some decent pace and guile in the team

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Whoever it was from the trust who fed that Guardian journo who was just on Talksport discussing our plight thank you.

    • Skareggae72 says:

      I heard that,he also described our finances as ‘like reading through a thriller’ (if only it was)we could flick to the final page & see how it all finishes/ends.

  • Mark Y says:

    Redmond demonstrated to me at Leeds what I have been thinking for a while. His best position will be playing upfront or off a striker. Yes his finishing wasn’t as accurate as it could have been but his intelligent movement first touch and hold up play were excellent. also he has tremendous vision. A goal would give him the confidence he needs. To me I am dissapointed with his performances as a winger when he is up against decent full backs. Gomis had a fabulous game and the interlinking between him Redmond, Elliot and Morrison was excellent. Morrison clearly though will not adapt to the strikers position but fulfilled his role in an emergency. The way played against Leeds shows that we only need two additions to the team on Saturday. A striker to accompany Redmond and a right back.

  • James says:

    Here here Mark – he looked ten times more confident against Leeds in this position and would like to see more of the same against Huddersfield.

    KRO

  • Paulo says:

    Back to football, a nice diversion right now. Let’s hope right now that Clarky makes the right call, and those on that pitch respond and find a formula ..or some of one at the least. A win is something we need so badly, but more importantly, we need to stop conceding.

  • Ben Freeman says:

    Callum Reilly was absolutely brilliant, I love him, I want to marry him.

    All the best blues fans

    ben fre.

  • AR says:

    One of the very few places that I disagree strongly with you, almajir, is with regard to Mullins. Though Gomis isn’t a worldbeater he has always been lightyears ahead of Mullins, and the way he has been overlooked by Clark is one of the main reasons we are where we are in the Championship.

  • Matt T says:

    Do you like Callum Reilly do you Ben Fre?

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

    On a different note I am pleased to hear that scarf lady is still alive and kicking. Also it seems like we were all taken in bar you Dan as I’m sure you would have done a piece.

    The shit who started the rumour on SHA should be banned off there for life, hope he don’t turn up on here. One of the reasons I don’t post on it.

    The kind of fans we have nowadays.

    • almajir says:

      You know me Mr C, I like confirmation of things…

      • Ali Duncan says:

        Speaking of famous fans. What happened to Barry Austin? I see he has his own wiki page but I’ve not seen him down the Blues for ages.

    • Sirharry1875 says:

      When the scarf lady departs from this world Paul she will be sitting in her seat watching her beloved Boys in Royal Blue. They will carry her out of St Andrews in her coffin and she would’nt want it any other way.

      A true legend of a fan who has never turned her back on our Club.

      • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason he says:

        Why the feck so called Blues fans want to start the New Year off spreading bullshit about an old dear like that and upsetting her friends and family i do not know. Whoever it was has his followers though if you read some of the well done comments on SHA.

        I take your point. Scarf Lady don’t look like she has 2 hapennies to rub together but yes every week, every year there. Blah blah blah recesison, Blah blah blah bills, Blah blah blah kids, Blah blah blah Wembley, Blah blah blah Europe.

        They’re here, they’re there, they’re every feckin where empty seats, emtpy seats.

  • Murph says:

    Please keep gomis in the side Clarkie , we always are steadier with our little poor mans Owen Hargreaves in the team , love the guy , always 7 8 out of ten , when houghton took over Gerry gill told me he’s wasn’t rated but had to scratch me head as iv watched em a long time n he’s never let’s us down !! Kro in gomis we trust , watch us go on a run n knock spurs out of the cup too ! Kro

  • Blue Steve says:

    I hope we go with the following team Saturday.

    Butland

    Caddis Davis Caldwell Robinson

    Burke Spector Gomis Hall

    Zigic Redmond

  • bham terrier says:

    Well, I’m looking forward to Saturday, as I was at St Andrews for the first match. Having been born in Huddersfield but moving to Moseley at the age of 7, Blues have always been my ‘second’ club. But I was born 5 miles from Leeds Road so thats where my loyalties will always be, I married Blues, but the Terriers will always be my first love, so to speak !!! Ive been to many Blues games over the years including the first Town v Blues game I went to in the early 70’s (Dad from Brum, Mum from Hudds) when In a cup game Bob latchford broke our keepers leg and I remember crying all the way home down the road. Might have been David Lawson, cant remember. The other big Blues memory is watching Jon Mitchell score the winner for Fulham in the 75 semi at Maine Road- My Dad was so upset and has hated Fulham ever since ! I also remember Blues fans going mental outside, smashing windows and charging around, I was terrified !! And finally Curtis Woodhouse relegating us not that long ago, what an enjoyable journey home to Brum that was. Back to Saturday, and I think we will have a very different game against Blues this time. We seem to have lost the desire to fight, and once behind, we look sunk, whereas from what I hear on this site , Blues are at least battling, the minimum any fan expects. Our left back is a real problem area as is pace at the back and Im starting to think that a few players dont fancy it and have come for the big paycheck, presented in a nice big fat card factory greetings card. I do hope we manage the win, because we are on an awful run of form, and that both teams stay up and the mess at BCFC finally resolves itself at the end of this season. Have a safe journey up for anyone coming and for any family coming up with kids, theres a great new pub across the road on the old Leeds Road, which welcomes kids and fans of both teams, 2 for 1 pub called The Yorkshire Rose


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