Often Partisan

Championship Thoughts

Due to the ongoing participation of Reading in the FA Cup, Blues game from last night has been postponed to an unconfirmed later date. However, there was an almost complete Championship programme of games and as there was no Birmingham City stuff to keep an eye on I took a look at what was happening in the division.

I will admit that I’m following Lee Clark at Blackpool in the same way as drivers on the M6 slow down to see a car crash on the other side of the motorway. Blackpool’s season really is a car crash at the moment – 22 points on the board, 18 adrift of safety and potentially mathematically relegated by Saturday evening. On the pitch they’ ve gone through more players than we did last year and have Clark resorting to moves like playing a striker at right-back; off the pitch the fans are boycotting games as they look to get rid of hated ownership.

I kinda feel sorry for Clark – well I do until I see statements like this in the local press telling players that they’ve got no future in the game. I think he tried hard for us but it’s this sort of erratic nature that confirms my belief now that he’ll never succeed – he’s got the “pashun” but he’s not got the ability nor the intellectual wherewithal to make it as a manager. In one way it makes me glad we got rid of him when we did because that could easily be us in Blackpool’s position; in another it also makes me resent that we didn’t do it sooner because the mistakes he is making now are all reminiscent of Blues last year.

I think Birmingham-born striker James Vaughan is probably waking up this morning feeling sorry for himself. After scoring in the 96th minute what appeared to be the winner for Huddersfield he ripped off his shirt to celebrate, picking up a second booking meaning he would be back in the showers a little bit earlier than his team-mates. In the two minutes of further injury time that followed, Norwich City scored against the 10 men of Huddersfield to equalise again – and to make it even funnier goalscorer Jamar Loza also got booked for his celebration. As Blues proved at Derby it really isn’t over until the ref blows the whistle.

As it stands, Blues haven’t moved in the table – we remain in 15th place, 13 ahead of the relegation slots and now just 12 points away from mathematical safety (a number that is coming down rapidly). By my reckoning Blues could be safe around the start of April with the right results – which I hope would then push Gary Rowett into experimenting a bit more with his squad in the dead rubbers that will finish off the season. As much as a top 10 finish would look good in numerical terms it means nothing and I think it’s more important that Rowett gets a proper feel for his whole squad – maybe even going so far as to work on a plan “b” we can utilise next season.

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31 Responses to “Championship Thoughts”

  • rhees says:

    I was interested to note Rowetts coments the other day stating he will be able to bring in players in the summer and he is optimistic

    • Blunose1 says:

      I was reading that article not only did Gary Rowett say he would be able to bring players in he said he would be able to compete with the top teams in buying players makes you wonder if he know’s something we don’t

  • Edd77 says:

    I agree with the plan b issue ,with that formation we give struggling teams chance to play themselves into games and at this level we could find ourselves a goal or 2 behind, very dangerous relying on hitting them on the break, as millwall proved to our cost, and Saturday against huddersfield a team low on confidence after 3 defeats on spin, and we give them possession and early chances, all of a sudden they are full of confidence and recent blip forgotten, we should have been at them from the off

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Rowett experiment? I can’t see it somehow, he doesn’t seem the type. It seems that he picks the players he likes and sticks with them. Maybe things will be different next season, when he can get his own players in, but for the rest of this season, I can’t see beyond the 14 or 15 players he’s used so far.

    I see that James Fry and Nat Kelly are both being shown the door. Disappointed for them after nearly ten years at the club.

  • blue n bad says:

    Blackpool in the relegation mire,can`t buy a win,Lee Clark in charge,terrible owners and some fans boycotting the games. It has a familiar ring don`t you think?

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I see Blackpool fans nickname Karl Oyston KOKO which is a derivative of Coco the Clown.
    Must give credit to Clark he has committed himself to be with the Tangerines next season when any sane person would run a mile. He is forecasting a total turnover in the playing staff for next season!!!!
    One aspect of managing skills that Clark excels at is the signing of new players. I don’t think anyone has calculated how many he has recruited for Blackpool, although it must be some kind of record.
    Stanley Mathews, Stan Mortensen and Alan Ball must be turning in their graves at Blackpool’s plight.

    • Alex T says:

      For a moment there, I thou you were going to say Stanley Matthews, Alan Ball et al had signed!!

  • Dave Mann says:

    Lee Clark goes from pillar to post in his managerial Carear .. He’s gonna need more than 2 goals in injury time in the final game to stay up this season so I do feel for him because he did love it at blues and there’s no denying that but last night was good in that the gap to the bottom three is still 13 points but now with the reading game in hand., cushty! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m not majorly interested in the plight at Blackpool, but I think any manager, anywhere, is entitled to expect the same effort from his players as he puts in himself (especially when a club is fighting for it’s life.) That’s a given in my book. When there is little effort from the players – and reading the fans’ comments, that appears to be true – then the manager has every right to be disappointed.

      • PeteBaldwin says:

        If the players mirror Clark’s efforts, they’d all run around flat out for 90 minutes but in no apparent order and would keep picking the ball up…..

  • Captain Blues says:

    Lee Clark is at his worst when he is under pressure (as I imagine he is at Blackpool at the moment, even though relegation is all but confirmed surely he needs to show some signs of improvement for him to remain there next season) as he was towards the end of last season the Blackburn match in particular springs to mind. There are times when I feel sorry for Lee Clark but then I remember the misery of our winless home run last season, I do feel sorry for Blackpool fans though (we may be in a much better league position but our respective ownership predicaments are not uncommon).

  • Oldbluenose says:

    Daniel’s last paragraph, makes me wonder at GR’s apparent reluctance to play certain players who have either rarely or never featured in the team to date,?.
    Seeing players in day-to-day training is one thing but not seeing them in 1st team situations is rather surprising,?.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I think it’s a bit of a ploy from rowett .. He selecting the players he trusts and he propably would like to keep for next season and the ones he’s not picking are the ones he wants out and in the summer try and get his own players in if there’s money to to so … One or two might get a run out but unless they do a Jesse linguard it ain’t gonna change is mind so that’s why as staffs rightly says he won’t change formation or players that much for the final 9 games in my opinion! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      He’s sticking to what’s been successful in the main so far, so you can blame him for that I suppose. But, if next season, when he has his own players in, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t change his outlook somewhat. This 4-2-3-1, concede possession-play on the break, is ok for this season, but, tbh, I don’t think I’d like to see another season of it.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    The 3 youngsters that deserve a run out before the end of the season imo are Reece Brown (in Shinnie’s position), Charlee Adams (in Gleeson’s position) and Amari Bell (in Grounds position).
    Grounds imo is a central defender playing at left back. He offers very little attacking support down the left channel, whereas Bell’s movement forward is his greatest asset.
    The potential emergence of these 3 young stars could save Rowett thousands in the transfer market.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Agree with that. I’ve also been advocating playing Hancox on the left of midfield since last season. He’s probably the best crosser of the ball at the club, so why not utilise that. As it is, there’s very little coming from the left side, except running (into blind alleys.)

      • Jazzzy786 says:

        I’ve been saying the exact same about Hancox on LW. In the u21 game versus Bristol City he had a hand in 3 of our goals. Grounds is not a bad defender as a LB he is poor going forwards and his crossing is woeful. Very good results for Blues yesterday and today with both Fulham and Rotherham losing.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          Absolutely agree. Although, I like Grounds, as a full back, he doesn’t support Gray going forward and Gray doesn’t support Grounds when defending. A left side of Bell and Hancox could sort out both. I’d certainly be excited to see that combination.

          • almajir says:

            A left side of Bell and Hancox at Championship level would be awful.

            Have you seen either play in the last six months?

  • BigAl says:

    Dan, I think two wins and two draws will be enough, possibly just two wins.

    Wigan were showing a bit of improvement but I just cannot see them winning the majority of their games , Millwall the same, so as you say we could be mathematically safe by April.

    As regards Clark, he does not appear to have the credentials to be a manager, unfortunately he sometimes speaks before he thinks, I don,t think the Blackpool players have been too keen on his organisation or motivational skills! His latest outburst does nothing to inspire them.He would probably be good with improving skills of youth players from a coaching role.

    At the top of the Championship just when you think there will be an outright cert for automatic promotion, things change. Derby seem to have imploded , starting with the draw with Blues.
    Watford now seem the most likely team but that may change.

    Rowett is unlikely to change the format that has seen Blues accumulate enough points to stay in the division, especially with Morrison being out of the team.Perhaps if we can get some new blood in for next season, he may adopt a more aggressive formation. Lets hope so.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I don’t feel sorry for LC in the slightest. He made good money for two years turning us into a joke club. Committed himself to Blackpool – he would do wouldn’t he knowing no other club would go near him same as when he was with us. As a manager he is a complete fake.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I don’t think GR will start throwing youngsters into the last few games. He will want to get as many points as possible and finish as high as he can. The young players will be ready when they are ready. If he thought they were better than the players he is starting now he would have played them already.

  • Agent McLeish says:

    LC has gone, lets move on for crying out loud.. As the HK pie eater once said – I care not.

    • oldburyblue says:

      We HAVE moved on (thank God) but that doesn’t stop people being allowed opinions about ex-players or managers. I personally think LC did a good job overcoming the loss of so many players and in fact bought in some very good replacements in the circumstances. He was just a poor manager/tactician. I do wonder what players think of him…. because he always thoroughly depressed me when he spoke, making Mick McCarthy seem happy-go-lucky by comparison!! On the other hand I love listening to GR…but AM worried about his tactics going forward.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Callum Reilly was injured and had to go off on his first start for Burton tonight. Not going well for them.. Reilly off after 13 minutes, a goal down on 45 and a man sent off after 45+5.

  • Mitchell says:

    I think our squad will be unrecognisable come August. I expect the following players moving on:- Eardley, Packwood, Spector, Novak, Zigic, Hancox, Reilly, Lee and Robinson. There may be a few surprises as well. As regards Tesche and Dyer I would say no..as too much of a gamble for players that parent clubs want rid.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      I’m pretty much with you 100% on that post except I’d change Robinson for Thomas

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I agree. Robinson will still be here next season, in some capacity.. probably coach/part-time player. As for Thomas, I think he’s nailed on to leave, Rowett clearly doesn’t fancy him. The rest of that list will probably be there or there abouts.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I think that’s about right except Robbo might stay as a player/coach. The Zigic experiment hasn’t worked so can’t see him being kept on. The rest are not good enough. What concerns me is what we will be able to afford in wages going on as no more parachute payments.

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    Dan do you know if we get more money depending on our finishing league position in the championship?


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