Often Partisan

Vital Players

Lee Clark at the pre-match presser for QPR yesterday rubbished reports of Chris Burke leaving on loan to go anywhere, stating that the Scottish winger was a vital part of his squad.

From a cynical point of view, it’s difficult to understand how vital Burke has been to Clark this year as the Scot has started most matches from the bench.Whilst Clark has seemed pretty insistent on playing this 3-5-2 formation the fact remains in my mind that Burke really has to play every game; Ipswich proved that even if he doesn’t get much of the ball he can make something happen with a moment of relative brilliance – even if his shot was deflected into the net.

With Caddis now in the team and with Murphy coming back to full fitness there is an argument that Blues will very much have the wingbacks required for a 3-5-2 formation. If Clark decides to pursue that then to my mind he has to play Burke somewhere in the team – be it in the middle three or even off the striker in a “free role” – but he has to play him. It’s a sad thing to say but at this moment in time Burke looks to me the only player who is going to score on a regular basis for the team – a fact borne out by the stat that five league games in he is the only player to have two league goals to his name.

With the way things have gone recently Burke has very much become the last real asset we have – and with his option running out at the end of this season the club will not be able to attract a fee for him that is more than his current worth to the club. Selling or loaning out Burke would be lunacy of the highest order – something I think Clark knows very well – but with Leeds stating that Blues would have accepted £600,000 for Burke I wonder if Carson Yeung and Pannu understand that – especially as there is no way we’d have been able to replace him for that money in the time that would have been left in the window.

Clark has attracted a lot of criticism for some of the things he has done – and I’ll admit, quite a bit of it is warranted – but I do wonder if some people cannot see just how much he is having to struggle to do anything. I saw people on Twitter criticising Clark for the potential sale of Burke on deadline day yet I’m sure Clark had nothing to do with it – that decision comes from higher above – just as the decision not to sign players does. For every bad decision player wise (and at the time I didn’t think they were) such as Ambrose and Lovenkrands, there have been players that he has wanted to sign who were (according to the gossip) vetoed by the board because they’d never heard of them.

Blues have a tough game on Saturday against big-spending QPR and I hope that Clark makes the right decision in going back to a formation that has worked for the team in the past – 4-2-3-1 – which would allow Burke to play and link up with his compatriot Caddis and potentially offer us an outlet on the right. It’s my hope Clark will show us just how vital a player Burke is – and that the winger will repay that faith with the assists and goals that have made him a desirable property.

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44 Responses to “Vital Players”

  • Mark says:

    And only 94 mins football too

  • Frankie says:

    Must admit, I would find it difficult to criticise anything clark has done since he has been at the club.
    With the benefit of hindsight, you could maybe criticise some of the signings but sadly that is not available and players like : Lovenkrands and Ambrose looked good additions at the time, given the paucity of money available.
    when I hear Blues fans talking formations and tactics, I swiftly put my hands over my ears !

  • Dino Tiltoni says:

    LC’s idea to go 3-5-2 was daft because Burke is our most dangerous player. He does seem to struggle with a freer role and is much better on the wing. We’ve got used to his trade mark cutting in and whipping a left footer into the net. Long may it continue. As for tomorrow at QPR, I’m just hoping we’re not embarrassed and I can leave Loftus Road knowing we did our best. KRO

  • DoctorD says:

    What a refreshing blog entry — something (almost) only about team line-ups and formations. I am sure this is what all Blues fans want to see — the day when the club is in decent shape and the only thing we need to talk about is what goes on on the pitch.

  • sappy sad says:

    …..lee should be extending his contract as chris and caddis will be a right thorn to oppositions defences ,…….

    • almajir says:

      They probably cannot afford to

    • mark says:

      maybe chris is above the 5k threshold……with these other players on high earning it will simply come down to bcfc winding down their contracts…………unless further negotiations can be done between player and club……………unfortunately players agents are the biggest obstacles……..imo

  • Masaccio says:

    got to play 4-2-3-1 against the hoops tomorrow…

  • mark says:

    Dan – burke said he never wanted to leave club but if a eye popping figure of 1mil came in he would have gone ….. Just because he had a good season last year, burke needs to keep this high standard up…like all the rest of the players……

  • pierre says:

    some players are not the sharpest tools in the box,keep it simple.

  • Bob Your Uncle says:

    I agree with the 4-2-3-1 formation. Burke and Caddis down the right, Fergie and Hancox on the left. Adeyemi and Spector Defensive mids with either Shinnie or Scotty Allan just ahead.

    Keep Right On!

  • Frankie says:

    This obsession with formation bemuses me.
    Players have legs and can move …

  • Tony says:

    Just how vital is Burke? starting him from the bench hes been our best player for a long time still Clark dont get it.

  • Bobble says:

    There are some good footballers in the Blues mix. As Staffs has been saying for some time, if we can shore up the midfield then we have half a chance.

    • Ali Duncan says:

      For me the two that must start every game are Burke & Elliott. They’re technically the best players at the club, have time on the ball and can pick a pass along with being good at soaking up pressure and maintaining possession. They both chip in with a large amount of goals and are the seasoned heads in quite a young and experienced team. They know the Championship inside out and have, at times, carried the team.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Having a tight, tough centre midfield tomorrow is essential. They’ll most likely play Joey Barton and Karl Henry in there. If our cenre midfield aren’t up for it, they’ll steamroller us. If Clark doesn’t play 3-5-2, he should play Robinson in there, with maybe Spector. I can’t see anyone else in our matchday squad with the bottle for the job. Wright-Phillips may be a problem, but Hancox should be able to match him for speed at least. Up front for them may be Charlie Austin (who failed to score against us in 2 games last season) and Andrew Johnson (who is in scoring form.)

      Going forward, Burke should be able to skin Clint Hill enough times to get to the byeline and get crosses in. Ferguson should know enough about Simpson at right back, both having been at Newcastle. Dunne and Onuoha are no great shakes, so we might get some joy with them.

      All-in-all, it’s the central midfield battle that will decide who comes out on top I think. We HAVE to compete with Barton and Henry. Saying that… they’re both easily wound up, so that might come in handy.

      If we win that battle, we might come away with a 1-1. If not, who knows what the score might be.

  • mark says:

    confident with the 2 week break, we will be chomping at the bits to get at them…..agreed about the battle in midfield…..both barton and henry are easy to wind up, rather than spouting about just one player…………..this will need another like yeovil battle everyone needs to be at the races…when our opportunities come along we must bury them…..its definately not rocket science……….i believe green at the double….. we are ready to take off…………..kro.. noted it too early for murp and ziggy boy…….lack of match practice………………..can we keep our unbeaten run going………………..kro

  • mark says:

    Aj is injured so wont playing against us………….

  • mark says:

    this will be about nerves of steel, we must stick together as a team, we are on borderline booking our selves….this is where the old heads can play a big part in keeping everything level headed……………..

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    As I mentioned when Caddis signed the team is now tailor made for wing backs. Whilst I do not agree with using the same formation in every game there has to be an argument for 3-5-2 with the players that we now have at our disposal.Eardley was never going to be a wing back but with Caddis and Burke down the right and Murphy and Furguson down the left it looks quite exciting. With Zigic back and the choice of someone dropping off him, Green or Hayles, and the right 3 in the middle I can see it really worrying some teams and it would also be good on the counter. The problem lies when we have to get the players to adapt to a more defensive set up and hope that they have the intelligence and ability to be able to do it. It also depends massively on key players staying fit and free of suspension. Good luck Elsie, you deserve a few breaks.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I have a horrible feeling about this game and think we’ll get beaten heavily unless LC replaces Robbo at LB. Robbo’s days at LB are over as he is too slow to play full back. Robbo should only play CB. He needs to play Hancox and Fergy on the left. I’d have Green up front with Allan or Shinnie in the hole and Spector and Adeyemi holding midfield.

  • Chris W says:

    I agree that midfield will be the key to this match and will be surprised if Barton sees the final whistle, sit on him and close him down quickly and he will get so frustrated he will be diving in late and totally lose the plot.
    The only worry is in the goalscoring department, unlike Darren Randolph, our strikers have not hit the ground full stop, Matt Green is probably our best bet, but appears frightened to to have a go, against Leicester he showed he is not scared to get in the thick and scored a good goal. Was surprised he wasn’t chosen ahead of lovenkraands but think he can win it for us at Loftus Road.
    I am sure those of us heading to London Saturday we will not be disappointed.

  • Marky mark says:

    Cannot wait to see who LC pulls out of his hat of numbers when selecting tomorrows team
    The bloke is clueless and useless.

    All he has to do is get the basics right, best players in there best positions and a formation that works and if we lose to a better team I and no one else will moan at him.

    He is already in a position where he cannot get sacked, not looking forward to the game because simply cannot trust the muppet to set us up with half a chance.

  • Steve Aerobic says:

    Do we think we are Real Madrid? Can anyone please tell me who would accept this job if Clark was sacked? And please dont say Richard Beale be serious and lets see if we can think of any credible person that we could get to do it. I dont think anyone can seriously judge him until the club is back on an even keel, I for one think that twelth last season was a right result! Everyons says how amazing Chris Hughton was bit in reality he achieved no more than Elsie with a much better squad and he choked on the big occasion….fact!

    • Chris W says:

      There are plenty of managers out there, but I can’t think of one who would take the job as it stands.
      Lee Clark has worked wonders with all the restrictions thrown at him, I do wonder sometimes as to his formations and odd team selections, but he got it right second half of the season and I believe he will get it right this term.
      Before we condemn him lets see where we are after 12 games, we have had a tough start and with a little more luck would be sitting comfortably mid table. Then everyone would be screaming for the premiership, we are not set up to win promotion, and if we did it would only play into PP and CY hands and prolong their existence. All we need to do this season is survive, by one point or 10 makes no difference.

  • Bobble says:

    David Moyes in about a month

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Have not heard stories of signings being vetoed because no one on the board had never picked them in their PS4 Conference 2013/4

  • Applebob says:

    If Blues are gonna survive QPR they’ll need a back four of Vickers, Lewis, Browning and Colt.

    On a serious note, 4-5-1 or 4-1-4-1. Surprised the latter hasn’t been played already.

  • andy says:

    Makes me laugh, so many managers post on here picking the team and formation. Lee Clark is doing a decent job under very difficult circumstances as the club rolls backwards. It will stand him in good stead for the future and a club will benefit from that. Hopefully it will be Birmingham.

  • EveshamBlue says:

    Robbo will have to play as he is the Captain. I agree he is too slow for LB. But Bartley and Burn are better specialist CB’s.

    I’m not too keen on Spector in midfield personally. Never liked it when CH played him there as well.

    We get out muscled in midfield every game we play usually. In the Champ you need an Enforcer in midfield.

  • mark says:

    I believe giovanni trapattoni is now available, O’neill still out of a job….. Just named two…….. Inclarkwetrust…….any day…

    • Chris W says:

      Alan Curbishley is still available, Paul Peschisolido, Roy Keane, John Barnes and Neil Warnock are all available, but would they take the job with all the restrictions that LC has.
      LC still has the loan window to use if, and it is a BIG if, he can persuade the loaning club to fund or waver any fees and wages.
      With the transfer window closed any manager would have to uses the same resources LC has.
      For me, the only problem LC has is getting the right balance now.
      I believe LC is doing a sterling job with the current situation and all we, the supporters can do is get behind him and his squad of players.

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