Often Partisan

Ending Pre-Season in Style: Hull Match Reflections

Here are my reflections on the pre-season friendly between Birmingham City and Hull City at St Andrews.

A good win

I will concede that it’s difficult to tell from pre-season games how far a team has come; Hull have two weeks further to go until the start of their season and thus are potentially a fortnight behind Blues in their pre-season preparations. That being said, it was a decent performance from Blues especially bearing in mind they got comprehensively beaten by Hull home and away last season.

I wasn’t hopeful pre-match; I’m not a fan of the 3-5-2 formation and I thought that Blues would struggle. However, it wasn’t the case; bar a couple of moments the defence looked fairly solid, the midfield were in the main neat and tidy and the forward line were industrious and hard-working. It was a performance with good tempo, with good pressing and a real desire from the Blues players to close down without the ball and then to move it around quickly when in possession.

Matt Green

I was very impressed with the former Mansfield striker. Colin Tattum tweeted how he’s reminiscent of Clinton Morrison and I can see the comparison – he’s hard-working, runs the channels and didn’t allow the defence to settle. He took his goal well and I get the feeling that given an opportunity he may well score a few for us; he’s certainly raw but he also seems to know where the onion bag is and I think that sort of instinctiveness is difficult to train in strikers.

Neal Eardley

Eardley was another player who I thought looked very competent and assured. In a 3-5-2 formation a team relies a lot on its wing-backs for any width and there’s a lot of pressure – however, Eardley handled it well. His defending was solid but his distribution was excellent; one of his cross-field balls late on was just stupendous finding Green fifty yards further up the pitch on the opposite side with pinpoint accuracy. If he can perform to that sort of level week in week out Blues will have made a very astute signing.

Andrew Shinnie

It was my first view of “Shinniesta” (as I’ve seen him referred to on Twitter) and I have to say, I like what I saw. I don’t think he’s a striker; I think he was forced into playing too far up the park and I think it did negate some of his creativity as he’s not a player who should be playing with his back to goal a lot. That being said, I think he supported Green well and linked up with his compatriot Scott Allan along with Tom Adayemi in the middle and it was because of his work along with Allan that Hull made the error for the second goal. I think he’d be better suited in the “hole” in a 4-2-3-1 sort of formation but that being said with Zigic and Novak currently out he may well be needed more up front.

Reece Brown

I was intrigued that within a day or two of the squad numbers being released, Reece had been given one (for the first time) along with Ryan Higgins and I suspect it means both are further in Clark’s plans than they had been previously. For the central midfielder I think it was just reward for an excellent performance on Wednesday night and whilst he didn’t get to do much in his cameo it was a good step forward towards a pro contract. He probably will need to bulk up a little bit to make it as a first teamer but it’s another step on the ladder and it’s another talent off the burgeoning production line at Wast Hills.

All in all, a good performance and maybe encouraging signs for next weekend when “the real ball comes out”.

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42 Responses to “Ending Pre-Season in Style: Hull Match Reflections”

  • mark says:

    Excellent blog. Dan- the right results next weekend, and blues have made some great leaps, this is a team in working progess. We still have talent bursting to get on with their development…….kro

  • Bluenosesol says:

    This game really shifted my position from concern that we had very little quality and strength in depth to one of optimisim and an admiration for what LC is achieviing. Matt Green was a handful all afternoon, Shinnie, Adeyemi and Allan worked as a unit and looked every bit a Championship combination, but my shining lights were Randolph in goal, great presence and one worldie save and the big man Burn. Solid as a rock, fast, strong, great distribution and keen to get forward at every opportunity. Add the class of Burke and Ferguson and even Mullins had a solid game bar a couple of passes across the box which could have proven expensive errors. All in all, cant wait for Watford and have bagged my Yeovil tickets. In a positive way, this could be a very interesting season! KRO!

  • Andy W says:

    I couldn’t go today, but managed to get some commentary, and I have to say I am pleased with the number of reporters during this pre-season who are commenting that we are playing good football, and moving the ball around well, which you seem to be verifying Dan? It is far too early to say, and I do honestly believe that we should have realistic expectations this season i.e. a bottom half finish without too many relegation scares would be a good season for me. But it would also be a big plus for the manager who continues to earn my respect for his approach to the job in hand. It remains to be seen, but he may well have found some diamonds to make up for some of the rocks he found last year? And I can’t fault his commitment to a cause which many others would have given up on in the same circumstances. Looking forward to next week!!

  • Blues girl says:

    Why didn’t Kyle Bartley play? Surely better than Mullins?

  • geraldsquires says:

    Centre back positions are indeed something We should All worry about, robinson should be up alongside mr carr in the commentary Box and burn looks slow and clumsy It has to be said does It not mmmmm? I like the Boy allan, he seems to have an ability to glide across the pitch and create a certain panic in opposing defenders along with the boy shinnie who seems to have guile and purpose around the box, One will have to see now when indeed the real ball comes out mmmmm

  • Wearynose says:

    I hope that Matt Green will be better than Clinton Morrison. The latter was idle and didn’t score goals. With regard to the performance and result; much better than might have reasonably been expected.

    • Pete says:

      Absolute rubbish. He was not lazy. He may not have scored the goals in the PREM granted. But he set up a hell of a lot for Heskey and Forsell with a supporting creating midfield that had Savage, Cisse and Devlin. Other than Lazaridis it was not an attacking midfield and it was top flight.

      • Ali Duncan says:

        Have to agree with Weary there. He was arrogant and very lazy.

      • Wearynose says:

        Your recollection is different from mine; never mind the Prem, he didn’t score many goals anywhere. He didn’t even move for balls which were half a yard to either side of him. As Ali Duncan says below, he was arrogant and lazy. As for him setting “up a hell of a lot” for Heskey, I can’t think who you were watching. The sum total of Heskey’s career goals would hardly amount to a lot in one season!

        • Doug says:

          Funny how some players divide opinion, I always thought Clinton worked hard at Blues and was a good team player. I agree he didn’t score enough goals in the Prem but he did create for others. If Matt Green works as hard and keeps scoring we will have a very good player, just hope PP doesn’t sell him in Jauary!,

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I liked Morrison, but he seems to spend more time on his arse complaining than actually challenging a defender for the ball. If he hadn’t gone down so easily, he may have scored a lot more goals. Plus, he had a scoop for a foot. lol

  • Tony says:

    All in all a pleasing, promising display,the new signings all looked pretty good I liked Alan,Eardley, and Shinnie in particular.
    One thing concerning me is playing Shinnie in an advanced position he is not a striker, he gets buffoted around up there, his strengh is coming through the middle hes creative and could possibly turn out the signing of the season if he is played correctly.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Do you think 3-5-2 will be the main formation this season, or will he mix it up?

    I think to be able to play 3 or 4 different formations and have players who are able to switch game-to-game, or even within a game, will be a mighty ace up Lee Clark’s sleeve. It means a team/manager can never get a handle on us. Could prove a masterstroke. I have to say, 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 would be my choices.

  • Tony says:

    it has to be 4 3 3 staffs

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I think we’ve played our best football with that formation. The players obviously like it too.

  • DoctorD says:

    Come on you Blues!

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Just got back home from the game. An excellent game, so many plusses, so many superb performances it is easier to pick out the negatives. Felt Mullins was lacklustre, too ready to dither when in possession, and Ferguson tended to hover around attackers rather than get stuck in, but these are minor points in what was a very impressive team effort. Very encouraged by the motivation, teamwork, accuracy and vision. Well done to LC and all the boys.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It’s fantastic to see everyone positive coming up to the start of the new season. Doom and gloom? What doom and gloom. :)

  • bluenose says:

    Well done you blueboys!! think Matt Green will destroy defenses this season , he’s composed can play with both feet good in the air can hold the ball up well what a coup! KRO!

  • oldburyblue says:

    Can’t wait to see Novak and Green in tandem. On the evidence of today Green will cause Teams plenty of grief with his strength and movement which I am told is also Novak’s style. Green never stopped although he must’ve been dead on his feet at the end. What I particularly liked was that he seems to have the ability to engage the defence without running about like a headless chicken meaning he always had enough energy and speed to run the channels when required.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Wasn’t at game today but from the sounds of things we looked pretty decent. LC has bought well but not sure how he’ll accommodate both Shinnie and Allan into the same side as both play best in the same AMC role. Green and Novak could be just like Rhodes and Novak at Huddersfield. I just worry come January they’ll be cashing in on anyone who does well enough to demand interest.

  • Blue Steve says:

    Have to agree with Jazzy both Shinne and Allan play the same role. If both are to play then one of them will have to play up front which is not the best solution as neither of them like to play with their back to goal (as stated by Almajir). When playing a midfield 3 i think at least 2 of them have to be able to compete effectively for the ball. To be fair to LC I think Callum O’Reilly and Tom Adeyemi can do this but that meant playing Shinnie up front. When fit I would still like to see Spector come into midfield. Playing 5 3 2 also meant dropping Chris Burke to the bench which is slightly risky as IMO he is now our most talented player.

    • KeepRightcroydOn says:

      Though with the amount of subs allowed on the bench these days Elsie does have the luxury of tactical change of formations during games, and the option of using both Allan & Shinnie at different times during games. The benefit of this is that he can also manage thier workload and keep them at optimum fitness and sharpness throughout the season. For this reason I’m not too concerned about the similarly of Allan and Shinnie. Nice to have the luxury and competition of two quality players battling for one position.

    • tmsblues says:

      Agree with most of your comments.Team selection is going to be a headache if all those midfielders play to their best to catch the managers eye because we have lots of options across the middle and I think the squad is unbalanced in that respect. I hope LC hasn’t created a bit of a rod for himself maybe by promising loanee sponsors that their plyer will play whatever. Some in my view will have to be subs at best. Here’s my view after watching yesterday. Burke is Blues best player and has been all pre season so why was he on the bench he should be working with Eardley on the overlap just as he used to with Carr? Shinnie looks excellent but he is an advanced midfielder and not a striker so play him there. Then Zig or Novak can take their place up front. So the remaining 2 in a 5 midfield would come from Adeyami, Allan, Reilly, Spector, Arthur, Ambrose etc . But he’s committed it seems to play Ferguson on the left in this format so that means one place remains for the rest ! As for the back line, I only really worry about Mullins there. On several occasions he gave possession away and got beat for pace! He’s supposed to be looking for another club not looking for a centre half berth with us !! But he’s taking it seriously… I really couldn’t help laughing when he went into the opposing box for free kicks as if his heading was likely to worry anyone other than us when he’s defending corners or kicks! Bring in Bartley asap that’s what he came for isn’t it? Burn looked fine and Randolph looks to be a class goalie who’ll command the area well much better than Butland of whom I was no big fan.
      Interesting times ahead just hope that wasn’t Clarks first choice team yesterday despite the result!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Has to be Callum Reilly patrolling the midfield for me. Burke needs to play, so does Fergie. I’d go 4-5-1/4-3-3, with a midfield of Burke, Adeyemi, Reilly, Shinnie, Ferguson. There’s pace, power, skill and goals in there.

      • mark says:

        Tbh staffs-blue imo for the watford game 451, what ever system applied blues should not be afraid of any team. Its a joy to watch blues playing proper football.

      • tmsblues says:

        I’m with you on 4 of the 5 just not so certain about Callum on yesterdays performance. Someone in midfield has to let Burke in and I don’t think that should be done by playing Shinnie up front but I think LC does think that.

  • woody says:

    Dan what’s the situation with McCourt any chance of us signing him

  • KeepRightcroydOn says:

    The Sunday Telegraph, in its preview of the Championship, nominates King as our Key man. Strange that this paper has not noticed he’s been frozen out while he seeks a new club.

  • Mark1875 says:

    Amazing how people view Morrison as lazy and arrogant. Far from it. Never stopped working and was brilliant for his strike partners. I like the look of Green. Reilly was our worst player not Mullins, he played well doing a job in a position that is not his normal one. Seems that Mullins has become the scapegoat through no fault of his own. Typical negative Blues fans who can’t see the wood for the trees

  • Bcfc beast says:

    Went to the match yesterday I thought we were by far the better team and I think dan burn was class

  • Kenny ken says:

    At the game yesterday can’t believe how well they played lee Clark done a great job he has showed a lot since he came to blues can’t wait to the season to start forget about Carson and lets get behind the players keep right on for ever prem next season

  • Frankie says:

    People ought to remember the performances (and goals) Clinton scored against the Vile.
    Decent performance yesterday.
    Matt Green sure is a grafter and he deserves to succeeed with the effort he puts in.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Guys, we are obviously divided over Morrison, I think that along with Zigic he was the worst few million quid we ever spent!! But ho hum who gives a stuff. Green was excellent and Green is today. Get down against Watford and sell out them Yeovil tivckets!! KRO!!

  • mark says:

    Tbh matt got more about him than Clinton. Different era. Matt will do a excellent job for us. Again for me ziggy should only enter the fray if he deserve it on merit imo.

  • StevieW says:

    Absolutely loved yesterday, well worth the 300 mile round trip. What a pleasure to watch an enthusiastic young team out playing and out smarting a “Premier League side”. My only concern was that we lost our shape in midfield after the substitutions which allowed Hull to come at us.

    This has certainly given me the enthusiasm to go next Saturday and I would recommend a visit to those who may be thinking of not going.

  • blue says:

    Down Wembley way he’ll walk with Clarkey, hoards of blue and big Beau Brummie,
    It’s good to have a striker,who actually scores at home.
    Yes, they’ll come to greet him, arms swaying and singing loudly.
    “it’s good to see our green,green Matt score at home”


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