Often Partisan

Cotterill In

Doncaster Rovers winger David Cotterill yesterday became the eighth summer signing for Birmingham City. The 26-year-old Welsh international joined Birmingham City on a Bosman free transfer, signing a two-year deal.

The addition of Cotterill (along with his fellow former Doncaster teammate Mark Duffy) gives Birmingham City another option on the flanks; like Duffy, Cotterill can play on either side of the park. I like seeing wingers switch places during a game to give full-backs differing tests and to mix things up and having two wingers who are happy to play on either side should help bring that dimension to the Blues team.

Fans should remember David Cotterill as he scored a long range effort to equalise for Doncaster in December after coming off the bench.

I’ve been impressed with Clark’s acquisitions this summer; he has addressed areas in the team that needed a boost desperately and he has consistently brought in players who are of the right age, who have some height about them, who have pace about them – and who are hungry to prove something. With Donaldson still to come in (apparently his medical was yesterday), I think we’re almost there in the terms of acquisitions – I’d like to see us bring in one more wide player/forward as I think we are lightest in those positions but with pre-season starting on Monday I think we are very much good to go.

I think the big question now is how Clark is going to line the team up. I know a lot of people have a big thing playing 4-4-2 but it’s my personal view that as a formation it’s a bit passé. With the players we now have we could play 4-4-2 but I’d like to see us stick with the 4-2-3-1 with three attacking players behind a central striker, using the two wider forwards to get in behind full-backs with the ball and the two holding midfielders to help protect the back four when we don’t have it. Alternatively, I also like the 4-3-3 formation with one midfielder “sitting” and again using two pacy wider forwards supporting a target man in the middle.

The players we have brought in do give us options though and one thing I hope that Clark does in pre-season is settles on a couple of ways of setting the team up – a plan “A” and plan “B” as it were – and then sticks with it.  There was a lot of (in my mind rightful) criticism of Clark last year that he tinkered with players and tactics too much and I think it’s important he learns from that; I know the temptation to rip things up and start again will rise if we don’t get a good result straight off but I think he needs to be more patient – especially with so many new players to gel into the team – and give them time to grow together into a fully functioning unit.

Hopefully today will see the announcement of Clayton Donaldson as a Blues player; with him and possibly one other I think our transfer business will be done and Clark will then be able to concentrate on getting the squad up to speed. The club deserves credit for getting stuff done quickly; it’ll soon be time for the players to show why Clark has brought them into the club.

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56 Responses to “Cotterill In”

  • Auld Bertie says:

    I have not been Clark’s greatest fan, especially towards the
    tail end of last season, but I think he has to be given time to find the
    correct blend of players and formation having had such a large turnaround of
    players since the end of the season. We need to be patient and not get on his
    or the team’s back if things don’t go well in the first few games whilst the
    new team is bedding in. However, if he overdoes the tinkering again then I’m
    sure any goodwill towards him will quickly erode and we’ll be back to the
    status quo of last season.

    • ChattsBlue says:

      I agree Clark should be given time, but he should know the formation he want’s/needs to play and sign the players to fit into that, not the otherway round! The time should be for Clark to get his messgae accross to the players and the players to gel, due to such a high turn over!

  • Castanucci says:

    Dan, I have a bit of an issue with this article. You seem to have inspired a strange feeling inside.
    After consulting the NHS online symptom checker I can confirm that the feeling I have is called “Belief”.
    I’m not sure what to do with it? Do I ignore it or go with it???

  • Staffs Blue says:

    I know Lee Clark gets criticism in a lot of quarters, but he has to be applauded for getting his business done early. It’s possible we may be the first club to do so. The first day of PST will be very interesting.

  • Raymondo says:

    I totally agree and I am much more confident about the new season than I was at the end of the last.

  • Cleggy says:

    At the beginning of last season Clark outlined his desire to play 5.3.2 like Hull had to such great effect the season before. At first I was skeptical but i watched a few pre-season games and then our first couple of league games and thought we looked really good playing that formation. Then people started belly aching about how the system precluded the use of Burke and he went to 4.2.3.1. Not only did Burke under-perform AGAIN last year but i never felt we looked as good playing that formation as we did when we started with the 5.3.2. I accept that Eardley’s injury was also a factor but I’d love to see him return to that approach. Maybe I’m old fashioned but I like seeing two strikers on the pitch, particularly at home. Anyone think he may take a look at that set up once more?

    • Staffs Blue says:

      I think it was 3-5-2.. which reverted to 5-3-2 when defending. I too felt we were this close to it working, but, it had no chance with Burke in the team. I’m not sure if Clark will risk it this season, although, we now have the players to make it work. It’s going to be interesting to see what they come up with to blend the new players with the old.

    • mark says:

      imo i believe Clark will want to entertain at home for my personal opinion he might be more adventurous at home………he knows blues fans are hurting so why not give it a shot…. hope we see high tempo games further up the pitch….

      • Staffs Blue says:

        Possibly 4-4-2 at home and 4-2-3-1 away.

        • mark says:

          staffs every possibility there possible needs 2 or 3 formations, those two you mentioned and 351

          • mark says:

            if we can keep a consistent 11, and they are playing well, for me that back four is where our season starts…..stop the goals…then we can go counter attacking football sound easy…..lol

  • Quaggerz says:

    A forward two of Donaldson and Thomas would frighten defenders. Reminds me of the Chucho, Jerome partnership.

    • mark says:

      tbh quaggers you can write Matt Green off he will equally looking to kick start his blues career in a positive way…Clark mentioned he his leaner and meaner that’s what i want to see our attackers scaring the living sh*t out of the opposing defenders………..

      • Quaggerz says:

        You know, I’d almost forgotten about him! Even better, 3 forwards with pace and power! Maybe we could start all 3…..

        • Pete says:

          I cannot see us not playing Lee Novak somewhere in the team. He DID prove himself last season and offered a lot more than people credited him for.

    • bluenoserob says:

      hope they score more goals, but i know what you mean

  • mark says:

    excellent news Donaldson in get there…………

  • Chris W says:

    The key factors this season, if LC has learnt anything, consistency, patience and to have a plan B.
    Consistency in the team, hopefully we won’t have as many injuries so early in the season, patience to allow the team to gel and work the formula he decides and to have a plan B on the bench should we need to close out a game or up the game depending on circumstances.
    The signings all have that ability to address the failings of last season, they also have the excitement to bring back some of those lost supporters, we also have long term injuries in Matt Green and Neil Eardley to look forward to and both will have points to prove.
    I am more optimistic for this season but am remaining conservative in relation to predicting how the season will go, simply because of Lee Clark and whether he has learnt from his shortcomings of the last two seasons. satisfied with a 21st placing anything above is a bonus, but if the team gel early and LC keeps the faith then anything is possible, lets see how the first 10 games go.
    KRO+DNM

    • Oldbluenose says:

      chris w, Fully agree with your comments, mate.
      We should now give Lee Clark, breathing space in this next few months, If he takes on board all the adverse comments made recently, then give him time to implement all of the above and make it work.
      We should forgive any mishaps in the short term, but he must stop ” tinkering ” after the first few games are out of the way, !!.

      • Chris W says:

        I have been quite vocal against LC for two seasons and do think he could be a good manager in the Brendan Rodgers mould, I start every season as the players, with a fresh and clean sheet.
        I always think we are going to win the league too, but it ain’t going to happen anytime soon. However we have a group of players who are proven in their respective positions, all have something to prove by stepping up in leagues, so who knows, time will tell.
        As much as I loved the last game for emotion and atmosphere I would sooner go to Bolton fighting for a play off place this season but will just be as happy if we are safe.
        KRO+DNM

        • Oldbluenose says:

          amen to ” last-ditch ” survival,!!. As much as we all would like to be fighting for promotion this coming season, — Methinks we will all be hoping for consolidation more whilst hoping for some progress in being bought out by someone who will play the ” long-game ” in terms of rebuilding fro top-to-bottom for a more solid future to come, ?.

          • Staffs Blue says:

            With the type of players he’s brought in, if they do gel quickly, we could surprise a few people. There’s the potential in the squad now to score a lot of goals.

          • Oldbluenose says:

            That, Is the big hope, Staffs;, With the Irish training camp and the friendlies it should give time to start blending the lads together, [ Old and New players ].
            We tend to forget with all this hype around the new players, that we also have such as Eardly, and Green [ almost like new players themselves ]. plus some original guys still around, ?.

          • Staffs Blue says:

            Yep. There’s certainly good reason to be optimistic.

    • The Flying Pig says:

      Great post; the only thing I would add is that I’d like to see some evidence of a different style of football in post-Zigic world. I’m sure I heard Elsie talking about high-tempo football being what he wanted, whereas I think we were far too ponderous in our build-up play to hurt teams. Lastly, please work on getting more players into the box!!

      • Chris W says:

        We certainly have the players who can move the ball forward quickly and in Donaldson, Novak and hopefully green players who can get in the box and know where the net is.
        I think every interview LC made he kept on about high tempo, but we were always vulnerable to the ball over the top far too many times.
        LC seems to have addressed that and we should be looking to defend far higher up the field, look to play through the midfield as we won’t have Zig to hoof it too, Donaldson seems to like a ball to run onto.
        The more I look at possibilities the more excited I become and can see us having a decent season. It is down to LC and the coaching staff to galvanise the squad now.
        KRO+DNM

  • williammorgan says:

    Very good player cotterill should do well .I for one is chuffed with what players we have signed under the circumstances ..lookin at our squads strengths we have to give 4+4+2or 4+3+3 a chance ,as 80 goals should be our target ,but defending more if we start letting in to many goals …on 4+3+3 my team would be
    Randolph
    Spector gunning Edgar grounds
    Eardley. Adeyemi. Cotterill
    Donaldson Thomas. Novac

  • Agent McLeish says:

    LC and his backroom have done a sterling job getting some decent players in with meager resources. All we need now is a season without relegation issues. Would be the icing on the cake if PP gets the boot as well and he a financial drain on the club.

  • Staffs Blue says:

    By my reckoning, we now have 22 senior professionals. Add a couple of the kids, e.g. Brown and Gray and that takes us up to a squad of 24. It’s night on impossible to know what the starting XI will be come the 9th of August. There’s more or less two players to every position now and I think maybe the likes of Lee, Reilly, Shinnie, etc could be the back up this season. Even Robbo might play a lesser part.

    • Chris W says:

      Including Will Packwood who has yet to sign,unless I missed it, and with academy players who had squad numbers last season to be retained I make a squad of 30 now staffs, with only one loan.
      We are definitely in a healthier position we were at the end of the season and I would not like to choose a starting line up just yet.
      KRO+DNM

      • Staffs Blue says:

        Chris, my guess is that Lee Clark will make a few people eat their words this year. Time will tell.

        • Chris W says:

          Including me Staffs, I have been quote vocal at times, though not without good reason in some instances.
          Looking forward forward to seeing how he sets his stall to begin with.
          4-3-3 or 3-4-3 would look good to go for me, but he has to be consistent however he decides to go.
          KRO+DNM

          • Staffs Blue says:

            He’s had to bring in the amount of players that he has done.. but it will be interesting to see how he’s going to fit everyone in. How many of the new players does he bring into the team straight away and which of last season’s squad will be left out? For me, not many players last season covered themselves in glory.

          • Chris W says:

            I think he has done exceptional to get the players he has.
            Obviously two centre backs as we are short in height, a midfielder to replace Huws, winger for Burke and one or two strikers for Zig and Macheda, but who he leaves out will be interesting.
            KRO+DNM

  • Quaggerz says:

    Intrigued to know who the 10th sigining will be?

    • Chris W says:

      Maybe Messi, LC was at Barcelona last season to see how they did things and after winning the world cup he may want a quieter lifestyle :-)
      KRO+DNM

  • Raymondo says:

    Lokking at the Mail it says we have signed Clayton Donaldson on a two year contract today (have you seen his glamorous wife!) . Now I am impressed. I’m not even bothered now over when and who, if anybody, takes over Blues.

  • Art says:

    Even the most anti Clark supporter (me) can not fail to admire his passion and commitment under very difficult operating circumstances.

    Well done Mr Clark!

    • Raymondo says:

      Seconded!

    • Chris W says:

      Well he is out of excuses now, he has his own players and not loans.
      Time will tell. But I agree he has done some shrewd business, lets see how he shapes them come August.
      KRO+DNM

  • williammorgan says:

    For a 4+4+2 system
    .Randolph
    Spector ,,,gunning,,,Edgar ,,,grounds
    Eardley ,,gleeson,,,adeyemi cotterill
    ,,,Donaldson,,,novac,,,
    But there are a lot of good players that will give these a very good reason not to be picked in the team kro

  • Pete says:

    My only issues are that Lee Clark is a better manager in June and July than rest of the year. I am happy if we have consistency with some consideration that how they have performed in training is fine, so long as you consider if they will still perform on a Saturday. Some players do not train on form, but can bring it to the table on a match day.

  • Raymondo says:

    I like the way the conversation has switched to the new players coming in, the tactics and possibe team formatiom (4,4,2, 4,3,3, etc;).for the coming season. At last we’re talking football matters again on Dan’s site. What a refreshing change to what seemed like the endless antics of those in Hong Kong and their suitors. Great stuff! KRO

    • Chris W says:

      Lets hope the season kicks off with a bang and that it is only footballing matters that take centre stage.
      KRO+DNM

      • Raymondo says:

        Hi Chris W, I feel confident that it will now. I see that you’re up late like me but I’ve had my sleeping tablet now and I’m off to bed. All the best KRO!

    • Staffs Blue says:

      It’s possible that Lee Clark is maybe going to go with 4-4-2 at home
      and 4-2-3-1/4-5-1 away. I can’t see him buying the wingers and strikers
      he has done, unless he’s going to play them. The 4-4-2 could easily become a 4-2-4 when attacking. For me, the biggest selection problem is Novak. After last season, he doesn’t deserved to be out of the team, but where will he play this season? We have wide players now, so that only leaves up front.

      • Raymondo says:

        I agree that he deserves his place, Staffs Blue, but I see him being an often used second half sub and replacement for injured or tiring players. Some of the new ones can play in more than position now if needed and that may also let him in if a chabge of tactics is called for. KRO


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