Often Partisan

Caddis, Mlapa and Crooks

Paul Caddis is the third Birmingham City player to sign a contract extension with the club confirming yesterday that the Scot has signed a new deal that will keep him at St Andrew’s until 2017. Caddis has made 118 appearances for Blues, scoring 12 times and has regularly been captain when club skipper Paul Robinson hasn’t been in the first eleven.

For me Caddis was one of the biggest driving forces behind Blues’ revival last year. Back in his more natural position in full back, he has given support to David Cotterill in front of him offering overlaps and passes infield while he’s also been a steady defensive player at the back. More than that however, Caddis strikes me as a leader on the pitch – a guy who inspires the team to play better and who can help the team step up a gear in tempo when required.

Although he may not have attracted the attention that Dimmi or Clayton have, Caddis is an integral part of the squad and it’s yet another statement of intent for Blues to get him tied to the club for longer – showing that the club are working to a more long term team plan and are now through the troubles which caused them to be very short-termist in their thinking.

Caddis picked up a back injury which kept him out of playing last night but one player that did play was Peniel Mlapa. The 6’5 Togolese-born former German u21 international hasn’t got the greatest of goal scoring records in his career but with 8 goals in 21 u21 internationals it’s probable he’s got something. Being in Poland, it’s hard for me to get to friendlies but from talking to people who were at Northampton they weren’t overly impressed with Mlapa – although it’s fair to say he was short of service when he did get chances they were wasted and it might be at €500,000 he’s a step too far for Blues at the moment.

Due to injury u21 trialist Alfie Crooks also got a run out and again, from speaking to people at the Northampton game he did very well – he could be another piece in the u21 jigsaw that Rowett is trying to build to bridge the gap between the first team and the academy. With a “small and tight” squad it’s important Blues have these sorts of players who can fill in the gaps when there are injuries and suspensions so that we don’t have to rely on teenager players in their first years of being a pro to shore up the team.

One player who isn’t going anywhere at the moment is Nick Townsend. As confirmed by Colin Tattum last night, rumours published on this website about bids for him being accepted were wide of the mark – I do expect Nick to go out on loan but I will be honest and say that I’m actually quite relieved that the young goalkeeper isn’t to leave permanently just yet.

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76 Responses to “Caddis, Mlapa and Crooks”

  • Mineheadblue says:

    Cheers Dan. I agree that Caddis shows leadership qualities and added to those of Morrison, I think we have two good organisers at the back. I hope also that we can keep Townsend as I understand him to be a presence in goal and a good stopper. KRO

  • Ryan Deeney says:

    I was at the Northampton game last night.

    The thing that worried me with Mlapa was the lack of fight in aerial situations – he seemed unwilling to challenge against Cresswell and McDonald which wasn’t a great sign. Strong with the ball along the floor though. Unwilling to make too much judgement given that he was thrust straight into the group.

    As for Crooks – he looks a talent. Every pass he made was crisp and with conviction, more than can be said for some, while despite his slight frame he also put in two crunching challenges in the middle to win possession back. Looked very unfazed in everything he did and one run saw three Northampton players done by cute dummies before he was hauled down after a step over. Very impressive cameo.

    Unimpressed by Griffiths, it must be said, I think we could do better. I never saw him v Kidderminster or Nuneaton, however.

    As for the others, there was a clear difference in class between those that were part of the first XI for much of last season and those uninvolved – Novak, Shinnie, Gray, Davis and Gray the most impressive players in the first half.

  • rhees says:

    Pleased with caddis contract plus Townsend stopping.
    Like the idea of the German he will need a little time cant judge him on last night.
    Garry has signed well so far so lets see good were offering money for a player.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    With just over 2 weeks to go to the start of the season it is worthwhile taking stock of our first team playing strength now as compared to the end of last season.
    GONE Randolph and Doyle.
    ARRIVED Kuszczak and Legzdins. Result neutral.
    GONE Fabbrini, Tesche and Dyer.
    ARRIVED Maghoma. Result, loss of two key players.
    Conclusion, we need to add at least two new players “who can make a difference” to equal the playing strength of last May.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Richard

    GK – Better – TK has pedigree; AL has Championship experience
    FB – Better – Caddis on longer contract
    CB – Worse – Morrison extension not announced; Kiernan not replaced, Spector not specialised in that position
    Wings – Better – Maghoma for Dyer; Gray signed new deal and physically stronger
    Holding midfield – Worse – No Tesche or replacement
    Attacking midfield – Better – Brown has matured
    Hole – Worse – No Fabrinni or replacement
    Striker – Better – Donaldson longer contract; actively looking for another player

    • bluedean1875 says:

      I would agree Julian . to me we need to replace Kiernan, Tesche and Fabrini at a minimum. Also I know Zigic wasn’t in the subs for most part but in my view we are still short in the Striker Department. Thomas and Novak are not at the standard of Championship Strikers

  • Mark says:

    Mlapa looks a bargain at 500,000 euros – isn’t that about £4.50 at the moment?

  • Richard Granfield says:

    BC Julian…..I overlooked Kiernan’s departure. That means we are 3 players down from last season.
    I don’t agree with your logic regarding longer contracts for Gray, Donaldson and Caddis means us being stronger for next season. They were under contract for next season anyway.

  • Big Al says:

    My sister is marrying into the Caddis family. It gets me the inside track on things. PC speaks highly of Clark but Watson told him he was too small to be a defender!

    • Tony says:

      Speaks highly of Clark? you gotta be kidding , Regarding Mlapa friends of mine who were there last night were impressed, hes got pace, and skill on the ball his goalscoring record wouls im sure improve with us hes a big awkward sod.

      • Dave Mann says:

        I thought that Tony and he would be a good foil for Donaldson if he got injured or loss of form .. He impressed me in the first half and Rowett is thinking over the thought of bringing him back ! . He like me and your mates obviously see something there! Kro

  • KC says:

    Best group of comments I’ve seen on the up to date situation. Bang on regarding where we are weaker particularly without Tesche and Fabbrini. Sure GR is aware.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t think it’s any real revelation that we need three quality players if we’re to have a chance of bettering last season’s finish. 1. We need a regular partner for Morrison. It’s ok sticking Spector or Robinson in there, but are we going to get 35-40 games out of them? It’s doubtful. 2. A box-to-box player is needed. Davis and Gleeson, as effective as they are, are limited. We need a link between either of them and attack. 3. We definitely need someone to fill the ‘No.10’ role. Shinnie’s ok, but he doesn’t give us enough in the role imo. Is Fabbrini the answer? Maybe, but he needs to up his goals and assists stats a bit

    If we’re playing one up front again, which it looks like we will be, I’m not sure another striker is a necessity tbh. As long as Donaldson stays fit, it’s his place to lose. We also have Thomas, Novak, Johnson and Jones. How many strikers do we need for one place?

    • Mike says:

      Tottally agree with you Staffs. By my reckoning, there should be a Centre-half, centre-midfielder and a ‘No 10’ on GR’s shopping list. I can understand the calls for greater quality in the striking department, but with playing only one up-front we do have a plethora of options. A couple would need to be moved on to make room I think. Personally I like Novak. Thomas does not cut the mustard for me and probably only room for one of Johnstone and Jones in the squad.
      The one player I would like clarification on is Edgar. Shipped out on loan almost immediately after GR’s arrival – is he staying and if so, which position (CB or DCM) will he be challenging?

      • StaffsBlue says:

        As we all know, the centre half partnership is vitally important. If those positions are chopping and changing all the time it does the team no good at all. Morrison has been a stalwart since he came in… and he’ll benefit enormously from having a regular partner. That’s unlikely to be Robinson or, given his injury record, Spector either.

        If we’re going for just 2 quality players, as, according to Rowett, it seems we are , I would pick a left-sided centre back and a No.10. We have enough players to cope with all the other positions imo.

      • waycoolblue says:

        I agree we have lots of strikers to fill one place on the pitch . We do need a box to box midfielder Its not that Davies cant do the job its he is far more effective as a holing midfielder. Gleeson is more a deep laying playmaker he tends to switch the ball to the flanks. So we need a box to box man that will run passed defenders and paly the front men in. Shinnie can play the number 10 role. Fabbrini would be far better and it looks like the Tesche deal is dead so GR will have someone ells in mind.
        Fabbrini is in talks with us about a lone but there are other clubs interested. We just have to trust in GR and his staff. KRO

    • Dave Mann says:

      I agree staffs that another striker is not needed at this time but maybe a loan later on towards the end of the window if things need looking at …. Kiernan, Tesche & Fabbrini are the three that need sorting position wise so I agree with everyone of the same opinion , let’s keep going and we’re get there in the end ime sure … Rumour as it that Wilson palacios is training at wast hills .. Interesting and I wouldn’t say no !! Kro

      • StaffsBlue says:

        According to forest.vitalfootball, the Tesche deal is very unlikely now. Pity we wasted 10 weeks chasing smoke. But, I’m sure there are other players who can do the same job just as well.

        • waycoolblue says:

          I Can fink of lots
          1 Jordi Gómez 2 Joey Barton 3 Craig Gardner 4 Marc Albrighton 5 Lewis Cook 6 Nicolas Janvier 7 Luca Valzania 8 Geoffrey Kondogbia 9 Andre Gomes 10 Gaston Gil Romero.

          OK half or more of them would not come to Birmingham but 1 to 5 is possible All are available for lone or have No club or transfer listed contract expiring .

          Don’t start with telling me I am being unrealistic when I say my number one target would be Craig Gardner.

    • Richard Granfield says:

      Staffs…..Just a comment in response to your view on the striker situation.
      I too am sure Gary will play one striker next season, but we have to plan for, God forbid, a Donaldson injury. Novak and Thomas are journeymen strikers who are playing for a club one division higher than their capabilities. Johnstone and Jones are untried youngsters whose best days lie beyond next season. Peniel Mlapa who has played 21 times for Germany Under 21’s (an impressive stat) may be the man.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        Yes, I see your point Richard, but, with Mlapa’s lack of goals, would we not just be going down the Zigic route again? Zigic was decent at his natural game, but we hardly ever had anyone who could benefit from his flicks and passes… so we resorted to route one time and time again. We had 4 years of that which was, on the whole, innefective. I can see the same thing happening again with this big guy. If he doesn’t score goals and Shinnie/Fabbrini doesn’t score goals… what then? Tbh, if Donaldson does sustain a long-term injury, I see 4-4-2/3-5-2 as the only other options to compensate.

        • Richard Granfield says:

          Staffs…………..I understand your point about Mlapa’s goals per game ratio. In reply I would say that he has been playing in the Bundersliga, a top league, until last season when he went on loan to FC Nurnberg in 2 Bundersliga. Also he is only 24 so will improve especially under Rowett’s guidance.

          • StaffsBlue says:

            Fair enough, I do see your point, but I’d still wonder if we could afford the luxury of another Zigic-type player.

          • Tony says:

            We need Mick Hartford type, either the ball would end up in the net or the keeper minus his teeth.

        • Tony says:

          Yep have to agree, the point about this big fellas lack of agression is worrying.

    • KRO says:

      I dont think we are so desperate for a no10 (not that it wouldn’t be great to bring fabbrini in offcause). Gray, Cotterill, Maghoma, Brown, Arthur. Garry has options to switch up that attacking trio if Shinnie is injured/not performing and we have the emergency loans as a last resort. An aggressive holding midfielder who can hit a quality long ball would be first on my shopping list followed by an attacking left back so Grounds can partner Morrison.

      • Mike says:

        My top 2 priorities would be a left-sided centre-half and an aggressive holding midfielder. Take it that you don’t fancy Hancox as your aggressive left-back KRO? It is true we have options for ther number 10 role, particularly if this is Brown’s season to make his name! However, in the system we play the number 10 role is so important, and it may be that in order to take the team to the next level i.e. challenging for the play-offs, GR needS to recruit that extra special player. The big questions are whether that player is available and whether we can attract them.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I think you’ve hit the nail on the head Mike. The No.10 position IS essential to Rowett’s system. I wish it wasn’t but it is. I don’t think Gray, Brown or Arthur are the answer. Maghoma? Possibly, but we won’t know unless we give him a shot at it. You never know, we might save ourselves some dosh.

          • Dave Mann says:

            Arthur is the one for that no10 slot from what I’ve seen and not maghoma .. Waste of space from what I’ve seen . Kro

        • KRO says:

          When Hancox first burst onto the scene i thought he was great, a blues fan too. Not really pushed on since then though. IIRC he only made the one appearance last season in that away game at Blyth Spartans. Would like to think his involvement in the pre-season friendlies means he still has a future here but i feel he will be released when his contract is over at the end of this coming season. I think we need more than 1 special player to come in for securing a playoff spot, would be happy with another midtable finish right now personally.

  • JohnnyZulu says:

    Not sure of the relevance of this blog anymore. You are out in Poland don’t see any games out of the loop in Hong Kong and resorting to made up transfer rumours. Are you working for the Mail now?

    • rhees says:

      Jhonny Zulu your out of order this is the only blog worth reading.
      If you don’t like it don’t follow it, the rest of us love it.
      Keep up the great work Dan

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I agree rhees. If there were any other places we could find genuine Blues news, we’d all be there instead wouldn’t we? Including you JZ. This is the No.1 place for everything blue. End of.

    • Mike says:

      I know that you are entitled to your opinion JohnnyZulu, but I think you’ll find that the vast majority will agree that you are way off the mark with those comments!

    • Dave Mann says:

      Silly comment !!

    • Micko says:

      So, Mr Zulu, you will no doubt be starting your own blog. Just remember, it may well start of as an interesting hobby, but it will end up dominating your life. And, while you try and fit it around your job, friends, family and other commitments, make sure that it is as informed, intelligent, measured and well written as OP. Oh, and be prepared for loads of grief from people who don’t know a good thing when they see it.

    • almajir says:

      Not sure of the relevance yet you still evidently read and comment.

      Surely if it’s not relevant you’d just ignore it?

    • Andrew says:

      lol, merchant

  • KC says:

    Agree. Best and most informed comments by a million miles. Keep up the good work Dan.

  • BillyBow says:

    If Dan wasn’t writing this blog, no one else would be analysing the events in Hong Kong with this level of skill, passion or diligence. He may well be a few hundred miles from St Andrews but he makes more insightful comments than the journos who are paid to cover the team. KRO Dan

  • Mineheadblue says:

    OP is the most balanced and informative blog out there. For me, it’s THE most reliable and definitive source of information and opinion. Keep it up Dan!!!!!!!!

  • terryfied says:

    How nice to be talking about football without much of the previous stress. Keep going Dan. kro.

  • Having similar skills to Donaldson he will be a good player to challenge the don for a place , and the good thing about a 6″ 5″ player is that you can score goals no matter how good the opposition are, I do hope we sign fabbrini as well to challenge shinnie for his place ,kro

  • Dave Powers says:

    Great website kro quick quality midfielder must mention Rodolpho Austin release by leeds he’s ideal for us box to box should try get him

  • martinrussell says:

    Yes Dan keep up up the good work. We wouldn’t know the half of all this if it wasn’t for you sticking your neck out to find out what really is going on with our club. Thank you for your efforts. KRO.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Watford have signed midfielder Jurado from Spartak Moscow this evening. Does this mean they can release Fabbrini to join Blues? I hope so.

  • Kingstanding Blueboy says:

    Novak and Thomas are clogging up the squad, these two should defo be released to free up money/ wages for better replacements, there is no improvement to the squad in these two players and will only be warming the bench so time to move them on.

  • Mitchell says:

    Fabrini mania is breaking out again with many fans. I respect most of the views put forward, but this potential signing will not help our current situation in stabilising our hopefully mid table position. Fab. Is a misfit with silky skills on the ball and tricky body swerves that impresses the onlooker. Problem lies with end product and the value of him to other team players. He will never beat the opposition in the box and square for a Donaldson to roll it into the net. His assists are woeful purely due to ‘looking good’ on the half way line and swerving here and there. If we sign him then fine, but let’s not kid ourselves that he is going to make the difference. Huddersfield, Leeds, Sheff Wed.and the like are our bracket and would be amazed if their requisites would stretch to a dainty player when trying to get a play off spot or general safety position in the league.

  • mark says:

    with our thread bare team injuries could kill our season, probably too early for any input on the players bought in by GR……. THE first 10 matches should give us some idea which way we are heading…..

    Lets hope he got his thoughts already because the pressure will hit him if he does not it the ground running straight away……….methink play off projection could be miles off…….another top 10 finish would be classed as another reasonable season……. hope everyone enjoys their summer before we are back on it…….

    • StaffsBlue says:

      It will be interesting to see what happens if we’re in the bottom three after 10-12 games.

      • Geoff S says:

        It would be disappointing but not disastrous, unlike being in the bottom three after 46 games…. Who else GR can bring in by the start of the season may give a better idea.

        • StaffsBlue says:

          My point was geoff, that Rowett has had it all his own way so far. I’m waiting to see how he reacts when he’s tested .

          • Geoff S says:

            A fair point, Staffs.

            A few players have already picked up injuries in the pre-season games and that’s not helping but it is a wait and see situation…

          • StaffsBlue says:

            That’s the problem with a small squad. Injuries to important players can wreck all the plans. These last few signings have to be spot on, so that we have decent cover for all positions.

  • martinrussell says:

    I agree mark. Another top 10 result would been as good consolidation for us again in view of our recent issues. I think to turn it round as GR has done after the Lee Clark disaster has been ,for me very satisfying to watch. I mean under Clarke at Derby 2 down would probably have become 3 or 4 but to come back as we did shows the spirit and togetherness he has galvanised. With Gray Donaldson and Caddis signing new deals I can’t wait for the new season to start. My season ticket is re newed. KRO.

  • Dave Mann says:

    He has to put out is best 11 on Saturday against Burton to start with and use subs when needed or were get turned over and rowett wont want that to happen …. I would go Kuszczak, Caddis, grounds, Morrison, Spector , Davis, brown, cotterill , arthur, Gray, Donaldson …. From my time at friendlies this would be our best team at the moment . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Tbh, I can’t see it being much different to that. Maybe Novak on the right instead of Cotterill, but that’s about it.

    • Mike says:

      That looks like a decent mid-table Championship side – won’t threaten the play-offs but should be clear of a relegation dog-fight. Replacing Spector with a more reliable, quality centre-half and possibly more experience in the middle of the park to complement Davis (although I am hopefull that Brown will be given first team opportunities this season) then we have a squad that should finish in the top 8-12 teams in the division come the end of the season in my opinion.

  • Mitchell says:

    Everyone Dave would go along with your team. However, really study that middle area where no leader,no nastiness and afraid to say no winners. We have GOT to get a Carsley or a Bowyer or a Savage in there .Easily said I know-but at this moment all I see is canon fodder.Back four ok but the middle area is worrying.

  • Mitchell says:

    Dave Mann’s team is about right. What is a real problem is that apart from the back four- the middle areas lack nastiness, toughness and winners. MUST have a Carsley or a Bowyer or a Savage. I cannot see any natural leader and fear we could be canon fodder to the tougher clubs-especially this middle area.I am sure GR is aware of this as gifted players like Gray, Arthur and Brown will be blown away. No more talk of Fabbrini- more of a good midfield general please.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Agree about the lack of bite in the midfield. Davis does a good job, but he can’t do it all on his own. You have to earn the right to let your flair players play.

  • AussieBlue says:

    Hi Mates and Dan – been AWOL for a bit; hibernating as it’s been friggin’ freezin’ down here. Had to go up to Queesnland to get some sun and above 15C! 2 weeks to go for Blues games! Yeeeeay! Dan, I caught up with your self-imposed hiatus; hope it sorted you mate. I agree with all of your reasons; you do this for nix; that gives you rights. As Sid Vicious always said “Never mind the Bo**ocks”. So do it again if you feel the need – I for one am proud to ‘stand’ with you as a Blues supporter. And all you other weirdos too! I’m gonna buy me a home shirt and have a photo taken in it with a couple of Bondi Babes – ok to post that Dan? Just to let the lads know they are loved and respected as far away as Oz. Also to give me a cheap thrill. Oh and the HK writs flying is no surprise at all..it just means that the professionals are now taking the right action; and they will win.
    KRO everyone.

  • Fabbrini for me may not make sense to some as a signing ,but he does have the skill to get the ball around the penalty area but HEY after the last three years that we have had who cares what he is like ,he will give us fans something to dream, talk, and cheer about ,which will put bums on seats and help pay the debt back ,GET HIM IN ,

  • Adam True Blue says:

    I would rather have Fabrinni with his silky skills that can and will take on opponents rather than someone that loses / gives the ball away every time (Spector). Kro


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