Often Partisan

Crunch Games

Blues face Doncaster Rovers on Saturday at the Keepmoat Stadium in another crunch bottom of the table clash. Should Blues win they will go above Doncaster on goal difference; defeat however will leave them looking nervously over their shoulder as the bottom three close in.

The Doncaster game is the second “crunch” game in a fortnight following the match at the New Den which saw Blues beat Millwall 3-2 and push the Lions into further relegation trouble. Although defeat wouldn’t necessarily see Blues drop into the bottom three I think the Doncaster game is “must win” – if Blues are to stay out of trouble it would help if we could drag more teams into the relegation mixer and we can do that by beating Rovers.

From watching the BCFC press conference tweets it’s evident Clark sees the importance of the game; with quotes from the manager saying

We need a clean sheet to build from as we have players up the top end who can produce that little bit of magic to win us games

and

Defence is a huge area for improvement for us & that’s across the whole team not just the back 4 & GK. We’re conceding far too many

which is a fair comment – Blues haven’t kept a clean sheet since the Charlton away game on February 8 (eleven games ago) and have conceded fifteen goals in the last five games – an average of three per game. It’s interesting that Clark is looking to the whole team to defend better as an overly defensive mentality concerns me; what has kept us going this season in my opinion has been the fact that we can score goals and if we lose that we won’t win games. It’s worth pointing out that had we drawn against both Millwall and Bournemouth instead of winning one and losing the other we’d have been a point worse off; I think we have to accept that our players aren’t good enough to hold out for ninety minutes and concentrate on trying to make sure we score as many as we can to keep our results positive.

The other thing that has kept us out of the relegation mire this season has been our away form and I think Clark needs to capitalise on that. While it is true that Doncaster are good at home (unbeaten in eight) Blues have one of the best away win records in the division and so I think we have to target this game as a game to win – although in truth we should target winning every game regardless of opposition or location.

With only seven games left this season and the loan window firmly shut it doesn’t make sense to me to change manager now but with the pressure Blues are under I just wonder if the board are considering making that change should Blues lose tomorrow. It would cost money Blues don’t have to fire Clark – who is on a 12 month rolling contract and so would be due a year’s salary if he was sacked- and I would suspect they would appoint a caretaker such as Richard Beale, Steve Watson or even Paul Robinson until the end of the season but one does have to wonder if Blues do lose again at the weekend how much longer Clark has to rectify things. Either way, I think the relegation picture will be a bit clearer come Monday and I hope Blues will be somewhat out of it.

Talking Points sponsored by John Hicken Industrial roofing and cladding materials

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