Often Partisan

Squad Analysis – Pt III

Over the month of June I have tried to keep up with the way the squad is evolving to look at where the club stands and to try to work out where it will go next in the transfer window.

The updated situation looks like this:

Squad as at June 30 2013 11:00 BST

Keepers: Colin Doyle, Darren Randolph, Nick Townsend

Defenders: Amari’i Bell, Neal Eardley, James Fry, Mitch Hancox, Ryan Higgins, David Murphy, Will Packwood, Paul Robinson, Jonathan Spector

Midfielders: Charlee Adams, Tom Adeyemi, Darren Ambrose, Koby Arthur, Chris Burke, Wade Elliott, Eddy Gnahoré, Oliver Lee, Hayden Mullins, Nathan Redmond, Callum Reilly, Andrew Shinnie, Liam Truslove

Forwards: Akwasi Asante, Reece Hales, Marlon King, Peter Lovenkrands, Lee Novak, Nikola Zigic.

Contracted to June 2014 or beyond
Made available for transfer/free transfer

The most obvious thing now is that everyone who was offered an extended deal has now signed one – something that will be helpful to Clark as he has managed to retain the out of contract players he wanted.

However, we have lost Curtis Davies and thus the centre of defence is looking especially empty. Blues are expected to wrap up the loan signings of Kyle Bartley and Dan Burn from Swansea and Fulham respectively next week to cover the centre of defence but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Blues look at bringing in maybe one or two more centre backs – if only as cover and to help fill the development squad.

Likewise, Blues will in all probability lose Nathan Redmond soon as two clubs have had transfer bids accepted, which means that we will be down to one senior out-and-out wide player in Chris Burke along with Charlee Adams and Koby Arthur coming up from the development squad. There has been suggestions that Blues are looking at Paddy McCourt, who was released from Celtic earlier this month; Shane Ferguson remains on the radar to be brought back on loan also. My suspicion is that Blues however will play more of a 3-5-2 or 4-2-3-1 formation this year which will see either Blues playing with wing-back type players or advanced wide players over the more traditional wideman in a 4-4-2 formation – which would negate the need for Blues to sign more conventional wide players.

With thirty-one players listed above it is starting to look like Blues will have some semblance of a decent sized squad next year; admittedly that number is bulked out by a large number of first year and second year pros but I don’t believe that is a bad thing whatsoever. I will admit to being happier personally to see Blues try to develop players themselves to bring into the team to make the club more self-sufficient – I think in the long term that is the best way for the club to improve and if we can keep finding players who can make the break into the first team at higher levels it’s good for the overall future of the club.

Tomorrow sees the transfer window open in earnest and I will once again start my spreadsheet up, following the rumours and seeing how they develop over the two months until the window closes again. I’m of the opinion that Blues have probably one the majority of their business now but I don’t think it will change how many stories are printed about the club.

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55 Responses to “Squad Analysis – Pt III”

  • sonabluenose says:

    bit worried about midfield, would look much better with ravel and ferguson in there. with bartley and burn due in im more than pleased with the defence. such a shame we couldnt keep king for one season,or bring in dj campbell to bolster the front line because at the moment its one area i think we look weak in.

    • JohnR200 says:

      Dan has put Spector in as a defender whereas I see him more as a midfield player. My concern is where are the goals going to come from? I’m still bemused by putting King up for sale on a free, we should be doing everything we can to keep our leading goal scorer.

  • ErdingtonBlue says:

    I’m more concerned about the defence and attack than the midfield.

    Even with the inclusion of the two prospective loaners it looks awful. They haven’t exactly set the world alight and will no doubt need a lot of time to settle.

    Similarly with the attack – no prolific goal scorers in sight if King goes.

    I can see us losing heavily for a while again, with very little reply.

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Sadly, Your comments regarding ” brining-on ” the next generation of youngsters, Seems only to be for sale, !!.

    Until this club is either sold, or C,Y. being aquited, AND having both the funds and the will to stake us again, We are likely to keep on selling our youngsters, — Butland, Mutch and Redmond. Just to stay alive, ?.

  • Bluehobba says:

    Looking at the front line, if King and Lovenkrands do find other clubs then Ziggy and Novak will probably be the first choice pairing up front if playing with 2 strikers, with the younger lads used as back up. Does that leave us a little light as I think I would prefer us to get a player in that is going to push these 2,

  • Tony says:

    Defence is the concern, there is not one recognized centre back there at all.In fact only three defenders thats counting Spector .

  • geraldsquires says:

    Burn and bartley are more than capable at this level so stop panicing mmmmm? We have murphy back also do we not mmmmmm? If defoe comes in on loan then a top four place surely beckons we can safely assume

  • DoctorD says:

    Given that the squad is not exactly packed with household names, I think we need to get off to a flying start and catch other teams by surprise. The squad as it stands will hardly give other teams a sense of fear or foreboding so our tactic has to be a quick-fire start while we are still under the radar.

    Mind you, pre-season is always a time for optimism: you know in reality it’s going to be a year-long struggle. I think if we finish 12th again without ever really being in relegation danger, it’ll have been a great season all things considered.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      The fact is, we WILL be an unknown quantity this season. Other than Doyle, Murphy, Robinson, Spector and Elliott, we’re a new squad and, as such, we could take a lot of teams by surprise. Add to that, the fact that no one knows what formation or tactics we’ll be using, there’s the potential for a very good start. Of course, we could just as easily fall flat on our arses… so fingers crossed.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I am eagerly looking forward to welcoming messrs Bartley and Burn to the club.
    Bartley is a monster and very aggressive
    as Celtic’s captain Scott Brown will confirm.
    Burn at 1.98m or 6′ 6″ is a cultured centre back and one for the present and the future.
    If King moves on, which I doubt, Clark will go for a replacement of his choice rather than Mcleish’s choice, which King was.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Again, it’s all down to formation. If he goes with 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1, we’ll only need one striker, plus one on the bench. Also, it’s down to who he has at his disposal. King and Lovenkrands could still be there, in which case, he’d be daft not to use them, especially King.

  • Tony says:

    Doesn’t seem to be much pace either in the midfield or up front, apart from Asante who is likely to be a fringe player at best. That is the main quality we will miss from Redmond, not that the owners care. Where is our knight in shining armour?

  • jazzzy786 says:

    No pace in midfield? When we lose Redmond we can play Burke, Arthur, Hancox, Adam, Asante on the wings. If we play 4-2-3-1 with Reilly and Adeyemi protecting the back 4 it gives the other 3 midfielders a licence to get forward to support the lone striker. Burke and Shinnie are no strangers in front of goal.

    Losing King would be a blow no matter what ppl saying we played better without him last season. If the service to him had been better earlier in the season then King would’ve finished the chance.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Absolutely agree about the poor service. Anyone who knows King, knows that he plays on the shoulder of the defender, so a quick ball to him, and he can either turn the defender and get a shot off, or turn and move onto the through ball for a shot. But, the passing was woeful at times last season, and very slow. That’s why King was caught offside so many times. We’ll miss him if he goes.

  • KRO says:

    Excited to see more from Arthur, Hancox, Asante and the new guy Shinnie. Hopefully Clark has his tactics and formations spot on from the start of the season and we can hit the ground running.

    Big Zig has a huge season ahead and i hope hes ready to justify his mammoth wages on and off the pitch!

    I think we should be able to avoid the drop this season and hopefully we have new owners before the jan transfer window so we dont sell off any more of our youngsters!


  • mark says:

    if i was Clark any youngster that’s any good i would not play until these asset strippers have gone 2 million for Redmond is a sick joke and i can see people voting with there feet

  • Leigh says:

    12 months ago, ‘Zigic will terrorise Championship defences’ What a difference a year makes, lets hope the pundits were truly prophetic.

  • Evesham blue says:

    We finished mid table despite playing crap for half a season or more. I think we will equal last seasons tally and who knows with a fair wind maybe threaten the play offs if we get Morrison and/or ferguson back.

    Clark knows his best formation now and tactics so no need to experiment. We wont be playing with 2 strikers away from home.The 2 new loan centre backs will hopefully shore up the back and Randolph will command the area better than Butland hopefully.

    I wouldn’t of thought we would sign another striker unless we can offload king or loverkrands.

  • KeepRightcroydOn says:

    The thing that can make a big difference to our season is our home form. If we can start stringing the home wins along, we should have a better season than last.

    • Peter says:

      Well decent home support would help. That is the one thing we do have control over. Yet many fans are abdicating their responsibility here. How can anyone moan at rubbish owners when their support is conditional and second rate???

  • Tony says:

    350 quid for a load of bricks brick up the goals .

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As Evesham Blue mentioned earlier, if Randolph can command his area better than Butland (should be easy) it could save us a lot of goals against this season. Butland was a great shot-stopper… but his kicking and command of his area were pretty ropey tbh… as highlighted with the England’s U21s.

  • Blue Steve says:

    I’d like to see team like this line up next season:-


  • mark says:

    I have NO WORRIES because i believe Clark will get we right he his formulating a mixer of young and experience players together. for him it about getting the blend right…..inclarkwetrust……………

  • sutton apex says:

    i agree – in clarke we trust !! We had a decent second half season and i think clarke learnt alot himself, think we need marlon to stay if possible – if not we need a proven championship striker

  • JohnBond says:

    Worried once injuries kick in then it could be looking bad

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I’m hoping this new fitness guy does a good job. Can’t do any worse than the last one tbh.

  • Always a Blue says:

    Just a thought

    When LC made King,Ambrose,Mullins and Lovencrands available do you not think he was hiding behind our financial woes to pack off three poor players and one with a knee problem.

    I mean if you make them available for being poor the level of interest is could be minimal.

    With the exception of King(half a season)the others would not be missed.

    Davies(poor early on)will be missed and Redmond(strong finish)wil be missed.

    I think we could be. In for a decent season as all most all of the squad really do want to play for the club.

  • SteveC says:

    Would love to see D.J Campbell back at Blues but doubt we could meet his salary requirements.
    Now Lee Clark seems to have sorted out the central defence, the striker situation needs addressing.
    Then if we could only ship out the fat waste of space that is Pannu, then that would be something to really celebrate !

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think the day these owners are truly gone… there will be dancing in the streets. Reminds me of the old kid’s song…

      Build a bonfire, build a bonfire,
      Put the barber on the top,
      Stick the bald one on the bottom and… =)

      • DoctorD says:

        I think our problems can be split as follows:
        60% due to the mismatch in finances between the top two divisions;
        25% due to the owners
        10% due to the players underperforming
        5% due to the manager.
        I’d love new owners but honestly don’t think it would be a magic wand.

        • Pete says:

          Agree with a lot being said, but I also maintain our fans are a problem. We have a hugely appathetic set of followers who make no attempt to get an attmosphere and don’t turn up (blaming it all on this and that) BUT will turn up when there is a big game. The fans are said to make a difference, but we are not doing so.

  • mike says:

    sorry lads after watching the highlights of the confederation cup i am not getting very excited about watching us ……….

  • mark says:

    Dan- it was not noted in your blog that maybe Clark may opt to play 4-5-1???

  • Nicky Wicky says:

    if blues fans have got any sense they won’t go down the blues again until this Chinese shower are gone! Its clear they are not going to sell up and are just going to keep raping the club to hang on to power in the hopwe that carson yeung won’t get convicted and can regain control of the club at a later date. They have put an unrealistic price on the club and won’t budge ,and are just using the academy to keep the money rolling in while carsons trial rolls on!

    • mark says:

      keep right on to the end the road, you maybe tired and weary…..but as we journey on we there at the end of road……………………………..Birmingham………..Birmingham…………kro

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