Often Partisan

The Number 10 Quandary

Gary Rowett could be left with a selection dilemma tomorrow with Andy Shinnie a doubt for the Charlton game and Diego Fabbrini rushing back from Italy with a new protective mask after his previous one was broken by Nathaniel Chalobah in the game against Reading.

Neither player is definitely out of the game – however the implication in the tweets this morning from the official BCFC account is that neither are definitely in either – and with Rowett likely to revert to the tried and trusted 4-2-3-1 formation he’s been using it could make the number 10 position interesting.

If neither player is ready for the game I think the obvious choice for the “hole” position would be German midfielder Robert Tesche with David Davis taking his slot in central midfield. Tesche has played in a more advanced role towards the end of recent home games when either Shinnie or Fabbrini has been subbed and he’s not done a bad job. Admittedly, he fluffed two chances to score at the end of the Rotherham game but he has got the creativity and vision required to drive the team forwards in that role.

There is also a clamour for young midfielder Reece Brown to be given a shot in what is essentially an absolutely dead rubber. Brown has played in the “number 10” role in the reserves and clearly has the capacity to do it well – going through a spell where it seemed like he scored for the reserves every game. While there has been talk about Brown having a poor attitude there is no doubting that he also has bags of skill – and I have to admit I do wonder if giving him a chance to prove that in a league game or two would help sort out his head and get him focused into improving into the player he potentially could be.

What I hope doesn’t happen is Rowett crowbarring in a forward in the hope that they can somehow magically fit the role despite it not being naturally for them. I’ve seen Dimmi Gray given the responsibility and it’s not right for him – as naturally talented and as quick as the 18-year-old wunderkind is, he really should be playing on the wings and using that speed to get in behind full backs and cut in side. Likewise while Lee Novak offers a really high workrate and plenty of effort I don’t believe he has anything like the creativity required to be able to do the job properly.

Rowett rightly tried to experiment against Reading and while it didn’t quite work as he hoped (at least that’s the impression I got from his post-match interview), it gave him food for thought. If neither Shinnie nor Fabbrini make it, then I hope he is brave enough to try something he’s not done before like playing Reece Brown – or even tinkering with the formation – than something he has done before that hasn’t worked. As important as 60 points and a top ten finish are, I think it would be better in the long run to learn something new from the game.

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56 Responses to “The Number 10 Quandary”

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Quite apart from the conundrum of who should play in the “10” position, with only 2 games to go Gary has to decide his retained list for next season.
    I am unsure of all the players contract details, but I feel the following players may not be with us next season:-
    Zigic, Gunning, Green, Lee, Duffy, Eardley, Reilly, Hancox, Edgar, Novak, Packwood and Doyle.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Watching Shinnie play at Watford and Reading he doesn’t have a good enough first touch, guile or strength to play in that position despite promise earlier in the season.

  • Big Al says:

    What do people think about Spector being offered a new deal? I’m fine with it as long as it’s a deal that recognises he’s squad player who gets injured a lot.

    • Agent McLeish says:

      Spector reminds me of Damien Johnson. Both excellent team players in the Nicky Butt mold and both underrated by fans. I’d have either in my team.

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        Spector reminds me of Damien Johnson. Both average players unlike Nicky Butt when at Man Utd and both correctly underrated by fans. I’d have neither in my first XI.

  • Dave mann says:

    If fabbrini or shinnie don’t play then its got to be brown simply because he’s our player and Tesche is only on loan .. Shinnie and brown will be with us next season and fabbrini and Tesche may not though ide love to see both of them sign on so as I’ve said in earlier posts that there should be a couple of changes for tommorow and maybe brown and gunning could be those changes .. But saying all that I think rowett will go .,, Randolph, caddis , Grounds, Morrison , Kiernan , Davis , Tesche, cotterill, fabbrini, Gray, Donaldson … We’re see! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    For me too, if Fabbrini and Shinnie are out, Reece Brown deserves a shot at the No.10 role if we go 4-2-3-1. Personally, I would love to see 4-4-2 for the final home game, with (maybe) Zigic and Thomas/Donaldson. Let’s go out with a rousing attacking performance. 4-2-3-1 serves it’s purpose, but Jeez, it’s tedious at times.

    As for Gray going past defenders, he’s more likely to do it on the right flank. Mostly, he just cuts inside on the left… we have Cotterill to do that. Can’t see too much difference tomorrow. This team picks itself, but only because not many others get a chance.

    4-2-3-1: Randolph, Caddis, Morrison, Kiernan, Grounds, Cotterill, Gleeson, Tesche, Gray, Fabbrini, Donaldson.

  • jonno11blue says:

    Could try Koby Arthur in the no 10 roll. He’s got skill and pace and appears more in Gary’s plans than Reece Brown. Not sure I’d have offered Spector a new contract. Would like to keep Kieran, Tesche and Fabbrini but other than the first mentioned we likely can’t match their wages. Certainly need some goal getters as can’t continue to rely on Clayton

  • Mitchell says:

    I am at a loss to understand why Davis is being ignored. He came on against Ipswich and scored 2 goals,and got us back in the game. Since then, nothing except subs.bench. Let’s not see this player leave because of experiments with loan players. I say to GR..Be careful what you have and value them. In the meantime, I have always maintained that GR needs an elder to help him and I know who I want. He still lives in Knowlle I believe and is still fond of Blues. He would be a great asset as a Director of football at St. Andrews. His name is Steve Bruce.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      It looks like Gart wants to play more or a sophisticated passing game whereas Davis is more suited to a more aggressive, less cultured style. That said Gleeson’s passing was so poor at Reading I’d replace him with Davis for Saturday. Perhaps his assist will keep hoim in the team?

  • ian ambrose says:

    I thinking and difficult choice new number 10 to Fabbrini or Tesche next new season 2015/6??? i thinking best number 10 Fabbrini cos he has keys skill good feets….Good Luck to Gary Rowetts

  • Dave Mann says:

    Mitchell , I agree that Davis should be ahead of Gleeson and I for one can’t understand why he’s not in the first 11, as for Steve Bruce he’s not leaving a premiership managers job to retire from that post to become a director of football at a championship club no matter how much he still loves us !! .. Maybe in a few years time but not now!’kto

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Agree on both points. I can’t see how Gleeson or Tesche gives us anymore than Davis.. and no one hassles and harries and puts their foot in like DD. I think we’d have been much better with him playing in the 3-5-2.

      I think Brucie still has another 8-10 years left him him as a manager… not sure whether that will be in the Premier though.

  • Mitchell says:

    If Hull were to be relegated, I think Brucie would hand over to a younger manager. He is a regular in the local circles and would fit in perfectly. Even if Hull stay up, I think with new owners and a fresh challenge he would love a senior role at Blues and is the type of person who would never be a threat to GR. Great ambassador and just what GR needs.

  • Ant says:

    Spector is the worst footballer I’ve ever seen at any level. He’s not just awful at football by footballer’s standards, but by general population standard. If he was playing with me and my mates at powerleague I’d pick him only if I had no choice. Baffles me how he’s made a career in football, especially at this level.

    • almajir says:

      You can’t be that old mate, I’ve seen worse in a Blues shirt.

      Bjorn Otto Bragstad *shudder*

    • StaffsBlue says:

      There would be a long line of players for that title before Spector.

      • Dave mann says:

        Ferdinand colly , mendhi nafti, Carlos costly, Lloyd dyer, Olivier tebily ( legend to me though for Chelsea and Man U) Brek Shea , Gary sprake and many more I can think of but Spector doesent come into that list ime afraid . Kro

    • Dave mann says:

      If he was playing at power league with your mates he’d look like messi or ronaldo !! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I see Gillingham are hoping we release Amari’i Bell. If we do, they want to sign him permanently. Both the manager and fans are very impressed. I’d be disappointed if he was released without us ever getting a proper look at him.

    • Richard Granfield says:

      I would be disappointed if Bell was not retained for next season. He is potentially the attacking left back we are looking for. He has greater stature than Hancox and is imo a more natural left back than Grounds.

  • Dave mann says:

    I think Gillingham is his level and not in rowetts plans ime sorry to say ! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Apart from Gray and, maybe, Arthur, I don’t think any of our academy players are in his plans.

  • andy says:

    I would be astonished if Reece Brown is not in Rowett’s plans, of all the academy players, Brown is the most gifted, I for one think he should be given that number 10 role. If Blues can keep Dimmi, Arthur and Brown the future will be bright for Birmingham.

  • Dave Mann says:

    andy, those three are in rowetts plans so stop panicking and our future next season is going to be a lot brighter than this season . Trust me!! Kro

  • 11thhour says:

    A fit spector is as good as any CB at this level. A workman like midfielder, a very good full back but a premiership CB (When fit)!!! All this ” hes crap”, why…..err ” cus hes crap””!!!!!!! Come on gents watch him at CB, one half mistake all year (home to huddersfield). Yet Kiernan, and I quite like the kid, but he has made a lot of mistakes , well “hes good”, why? “….err cus hes good”. I get me may not keep him because of his wages and fitness , and I understand the economics of that one, but rubbish, come on!!!

    • Dave Mann says:

      Only Ant 11thhour not anybody else who’s slagging off Spector .. Get real!! Kro

      • Blue Lizard says:

        And me!!..he spends too long injured..,gives the ball away to cheaply when he does play ..with money being tight we need better value for money…

  • sam says:

    Would love to see Brown play as he has impressed previously. Rowett has been understandably rigid in formation and quite defensive thus far but be good to really take the game to them knowing a loss wouldn’t have much of an impact.
    P.S Is Forza Blues still alive?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Do you go to St. Andrews Sam? Kro

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Recent changes of opinion for me.

    1/ Kiernan alongside Morrison looks a player worth signing

    2/ Shinnie should be replaced. Poor first touch and not clever enough. Too easily shunted off the ball. With free access to an excellent gym I wonder why he hasn’t used it to bulk himself up.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    If I was to imagine us as promoted next season I could only definitely see Morrison, Gray and if we sign them Fabbrini and Tesche in that first XI with possibly Kiernan and Tesche.

    I would so want Donaldson, Caddis and Cotterill to make that starting XI but I think they’ll be replaced.

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      As you can see I have doubts about how I feel about Tesche

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I share those doubts. Does anyone know what his best position is? I don’t think his shooting is good enough to be a No.10. We already have one that rarely scores. I also think that him and Gleeson in the middle is too much of a muchness. I’d play one or t’other.

    • steve says:

      cotterill ? Just an average Championship player.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    “Gary Rowett has hinted that he might use tomorrow’s last home game as a chance to give some members of his squad a final hurrah in front of the Blues faithful.”

    So, as GR has dropped a pre-matchhint…. usual formation and regular first XI it is then lol.

    If he does give one or two a start, it should give some indication as to who won’t be here next season.

  • Tony says:

    Regarding Spector He was a reglar for Fuham at one time anf he did not look out of place in the Preiership.T

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Last home game to what has been a successful season. Mid table was as much as most of us had hoped for at the start although it seemed a long way off mid-October and I think we’ve punched above our weight which is a testament to GR’s management skills.
    It seems like a perfect opportunity to give Reece or Koby a run but I think GR’s remit is to finish as high up the table and to get as many points as possible and you can’t blame him for that.

  • Raymondo says:

    I still think that Cilin Doyle is worth keeping as a reserve golakeeper and I think Steve Bruce would too. KRO

  • Sean Thomas says:

    Bruce,s home is in Solihull and has been for a number of years, his wife Janet, also a Geordie, loves it there and will not move, so the comment that he would prefer to be closer to Newcastle will not be an issue. Also Brucie is tired of the travelling he has done in recent years, from Solihull to Sunderland especially. Nope Brucie is an adopted Brummie a tag he accepts with pride.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Doyle, Spector, gunning, Morrison , Hancox, Davis, brown, gray, Arthur, fabbtini, green…..most of those players in that team need to play today or at Bolton if there to get new contracts … Keep Randolph, caddis, grounds, Kiernan , Tesche, Gleeson , cotterill , shinnie and Donaldson can all warm the bench or be rested totally particuly our player of the season in clayton who deserves just that !! …… This won’t happen of course because it will be the side that we all expect but as great as rowett as done it would make a pleasent supprise to see all those changes .. 3-1 to blues and 60 points gained and 15/15/15 in wins , draws and losses going into Bolton next Saturday .. Enjoy your final game at Stans today if your going. . Kto

    • StaffsBlue says:

      My disappointment would be if the likes of Gunning, Duffy and Green get dumped without ever having a proper chance to show what they can bring to the team. I know that’s life, but it would still be a shame. I also wonder if Mitch Hancox has a future at the club. Not one single appearance this season, even as a sub, doesn’t sound good does it?

      • steve says:

        At the end of the day Staffs,we only see them once or twice a week where as they see the players every day. We have to trust their judgement. So far imo,his judgement as been pretty good.As for Hancox,i’ve never been a fan,move him on. As for young players,i don’t think we’re in a position to throw them in atm. If he threw them in and it went tits up,the fans would turn.Even when we’re safe,i still want to see the best 11 playing and winning.

  • Dave Mann says:

    It’s a shame staffs that local brummies like Hancox and rilley look to be on there way out but we have to trust rowetts judgement and if they ain’t good enough to make a average championship team this season then what chance have they got next season when we all hope god willing to be pushing for the playoffs so its sad but lets hope they do well else where and maybe one day we might live to regret it which had happened a few times when players have left us. Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m honestly not sure about Rowett where the young players are concerned. He seems more the type to prefer ready-made, straight-in-the-team players. I’m hoping that was just to turn things round and things will change next season.

  • Andrew says:

    garys not a chop and change manager, i personally would give all the players we have a chance but under rowett i think he prefers to stick to what he knows and as it has worked i cant say i blame him.

    gray is a good player and game time is key to him fulfilling the obvious potential he has, but i would certainly make sure not to overplay him. could be a good opportunity to give some fringe players a start or at the very least half a game in these next two just to see where we are at. im sure he knows what he wants to do with the team in regards to next season.

    • steve says:

      I,m quite happy to have a manager that keeps a settled team.Gray hasn’t been the same player since Christmas.

  • TonyD says:

    Spector a bad player? Anyone remember his two first half goals for Wet Spam as they dumped Man Utd out of the 2010 Carling Cup, beating Fergie’s team 4-0.


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