Often Partisan

Offensive Cover

Yesterday, I talked about how well stacked up Blues are at the back and my hopes that the club can bring in a young pro in to develop as a player and to be utilised as defensive cover. From reading comments on here and on social media it appears that many people are more worried about the other end of the pitch.

Blues’ striker situation is quite a strange one. Clayton Donaldson was player of the season at Blues last year – a healthy return of 16 goals along with a phenomenal work-rate ensuring he gained many people’s vote both in the poll on this site and elsewhere. However, there is always that fear – the “what if” situation – that Donaldson may not be able to replicate that form this year.

I think part of the issue is the lack of faith in the other strikers Blues possess. Lee Novak scored two goals last year in 25 appearances – albeit utilised the majority of his time on the pitch as a wide player or in the hole. Wes Thomas got six in 37 – again, with the extenuating circumstances of making 25 appearances from the bench. However, I think neither have done enough to be convincing that in the event of Donaldson being out for a large period of time would be able to step up and replace his goal-scoring threat.

It’s a tough situation. I can kind of empathise with concerned fans in that I don’t think either Novak nor Thomas are good enough; however, with Blues habitually playing one up top I can’t see a top striker coming in to play second fiddle to Donaldson and I can’t see Rowett changing a formation that has worked so well for him.

I do think that Blues could do with bringing someone else in now that Denny Johnstone has gone on a season-long loan to Greenock Morton; Alex Jones will be an option albeit a raw one and I’d like to see Blues have more options from the bench to change things.

I’ve seen the rumours that Blues have made a loan offer for Dwight Gayle but I have to admit, I think they’re laughably wide of the mark. Gayle is supposedly about to make a loan move across the Thames to Fulham – I can’t see Blues forking out the wages he is on at Palace to bring him to B9 in all honesty.

It’s gone very quiet about both Peniel Mlapa and Devante Cole and while I think both did well on trial neither are seen as “must-haves” – and it’s that which has caused Blues to hold off from making an offer to either of them. As bad as Mlapa’s league form looks I’m intrigued by him – his height makes him different from the other strikers Blues have and I can’t imagine someone who has scored 8 goals for Germany’s u21 side in 21 appearances is that poor – there must be something there.

In the end, I think the key will be if Blues can move on one of Novak or Thomas – which would give Rowett the squad space and the wiggle-room wage-wise to bring in someone not only as cover but who could genuinely push Donaldson for his spot in the team – or God forbid allow us to play with two men up front. Time will tell.

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68 Responses to “Offensive Cover”

  • Walker says:

    Donaldson has obviously earned his starting 11 place but if he did drop last seasons form or pick up a knock it does worry me big time.

    Donaldson should not be expected to play 90 minutes for 50 games or however many it is. Novak as much as I like him doesn’t score enough and rarely looks dangerous although like jerome did once in a while he is capable of a pearler once in a while. I also like Thomas but again he isn’t a big Donaldson figure and is similar to other players at the club in terms of skill.

    Surely we can get this mlep guy on loan til January and let him prove his worth

    • Chris allen says:

      I suppose it depends on which other clubs might be interested in him but I agree totally with you.it wouldn’t hurt to take a gamble on loaning him.just depends on his wages maybe.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    At this particular moment in time, if Donaldson was out for any length of time, Rowett would either have to bring in a new (like-for-like) No.9, or change the formation. Novak and Thomas are better in a two, everyone knows that. Basically, we have no other forward who could play the Donaldson role. Shortsighted of the manager? I’d have to say yes I’m afraid.

    • Lee says:

      Short sited only if you don’t know the actual financial constraints he has to work under, we needed 2 goalkeepers, we needed tesche or similar, we needed fabrini or similar, we needed to tie down existing players on longer contracts, toral weighs in with a few goals which helps, rowett along with everyone else knows Thomas and Novak are simply dead wood but are taking a wage from the club, shifting them is going to be a lot easier said than done, that’s how bad they are, I wouldn’t exactly say short sighted when he’s actively been bringing strikers in for trials during pre season, again the type of player he’s brought in to look at prove the finances are still quite tight, show a bit of faith, and don’t be surprised if a forward does arrive soon

    • Matt says:

      My life you’re a bundle of joy. Weve kept our best players and added quality additions. All wouldn’t have signed under ole’ Clarky boy.
      Enjoy the season, KRO!

    • steve says:

      Has the window shut yet ? No.

  • Sean says:

    I think Rowett will look to utilise players like Gray, Toral and Shinnie as cover

    • atko says:

      None of them are suitable cover for Donaldson. My hope is that those 3 plus Cotterill chip in with goals themselves. I can’t see Donaldson matching last seasons tally. I don’t think he is playing as well as he did in the middle of last season. Teams got wise to him plus he was overused to the point he was no threat in front of goal, he was exhausted.

  • DV says:

    The question once again is, can we achieve better or different to what we already have, given the cash available and the formation. I do not think improving the team through short term or 6 month loan deals with is a long term or sustainable plan when there is no conceivable plan for holding on to them in the long term.

    Donaldson is worth his place in hard work alone and Dimmis continued emergence as a goal threat could counteract any dip in form from Donaldson.

  • andy says:

    I think GR had Emmanuel Thomas down as the striker to challenge Donaldson but he opted to go elsewhere. I am not sure if Blues could offload Novak or Thomas at the moment, I may be wrong, but I think Novak will surprise some people this season.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Blues played Tottenham in a closed door match today,where all the first team that didn’t play against Leicester appeared. The important point is that there were scouts there viewing the players. It may mean that players such as Edgar, Eardley and Thomas might go either permanently or on loan.
    Blues won the game 4-1. Davis, Robinson, Toral and Thomas with the goals.

  • Walker says:

    You stand correct toral hatrick and Robinson with the goals

  • Dave Mann says:

    Walker, Toral scored 1 goal not 3 ??? Kro

    • Geoff S says:

      Dave.

      The club website has reported Toral as scoring a hat-trick in the match against Spurs so who knows?

      • Dave Mann says:

        Your right mate , sorry but did not check but if that’s the case then he’s our number 10 and should play Saturday .. Yeah!! Kro

      • almajir says:

        There is evidently some confusion as it’s not even clear from the report who scored.

        • Geoff S says:

          I agree parts of the article are not that clear but the piece does carry the line that “the Arsenal loanee completed his hat-trick”.

          • atko says:

            The fact he even played tells me Shinnie will be number 10 Saturday. Very few teams play their first team players so close to the start of the season. I think Toral will make the bench.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    If one out of Novak and Thomas needs to be moved to allow GR to get another striker in I hope it’s Novak. At least Wes has some pace and a physical presence. I just don’t think Novak does anything particularly well.

    • Waycoolblue says:

      He is the hardest working player we have you cant say he dues nothing he may well have had 25 appearances but off the bench and never in the same position he was used the one and only time as a striker for the West Brom cup match & had a bad game in terms of goals but come on that was a premiership club. I wont judge him till he as had a real chance up front.

  • Euston 9:18 says:

    Gary Rowett is on Radio 5Live tonight at 9.00 in the studio.

  • KRO says:

    Super Koby will come in as a no’9 and save the season.

  • Another timely piece for the fans to relieve there stress over Dan thanks , mlapa looking at the stats could play behind the don ,heading long balls on when blues are finding it hard to get the ball out of their own half , he is also a nifty short passer of the ball to get the don going ,he would also be good at helping the defence out at corners and free kicks ,

  • muzza says:

    some of u guys moaning is madness. players like gray donaldson etc have signed a lot due to gr. still a long time to go with new signings and lets face it he def hasnt been bad when it comes to players hes signed.lucky to have gr is all i can say

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    The bottom line is that GR can only move around in this transfer market according to what the clubs current finances allow. I’m sure GR would love to bring in Adam Lefondre for example but it’s become clear over the summer that we just cannot afford that player that will give us something extra.
    GR’s strength so far has been to show us how he can improve what he already has at his disposal and let’s see if he can bring on the likes of Koby and Reece for instance.
    It’s one thing asking for players to be signed but if they’re not going to improve us given the financial constraints we are under,what’s the point?

    • atko says:

      People keep barking on about Lefondre but GR probably isn’t interested anyway! We have a system in place & if a player cannot fit in that system then no matter how good they are they don’t get signed. You can’t change a system to accommodate one player when other players in the system work. Changing the system means others don’t work in the new system so it’s non productive.

  • Connorbcfc says:

    Am I the only one who thought wes Thomas always made an impact last season? He always gets into great positions, and got us into the 4th round of the FA cup, I rate Thomas to a point where I think he should get a chance, he broke the net against Leeds for Christ sake, 6 goals isn’t a lot, granted, but his work rate and desire is still second to none, let go of novak and keep Thomas, reinvest the wage from novak and jobs a goodun.

  • bluenoseneil says:

    I am afraid I share none of the cynicism around Thomas or Novak, both of whom I believe are capable of contributing to Blues efforts this season and both of whom have been marginalised during the Rowett era primarily due to the outstanding form of The Don.
    That does not automatically make them sh*t players…simply biding their time and contributing what they can, when they can. Novak in particular was utterly under utilised last season and didn’t have anywhere near the pitch time needed to score the goals he could have. He was a Clark signing and his form (and head) dropped when GR came in but it doesn’t mean he cannot push his place in the team and by all accounts pre-season he has done his level best to give GR something to think about.
    Thomas has pace but lacks bite at times, however neither were designed as “impact” players yet that’s the role they have had to play for most of 2014/15 season.
    Unless that changes I think they may want a move away from Blues more than us needing to try and farm them out as neither one of them will want to wear an ass print into the bench again for the majority of the campaign.
    Ironically, a (small) injury to Donaldson would give them both a chance to shine and if it was enforced for say 2-3 weeks then they’d get what they want. If they struggle to impress with a more prolonged run in the team I will start to agree with the detractors.
    Until then, they are simply pros putting in a shift in and around First Team games trying to force themselves into the one slot available for them.
    That’s a bugger of a job by anyone’s standards…and they deserve our support in that regard at least.
    KRO

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Agree completely. Let’s get behind them when their opportunity arrives instead of discounting them as useless donkeys. In GR’s words everyone gets a clean slate this year so let’s see what they can do.

    • Waycoolblue says:

      I agree with you completely. And Novak as been better than Donaldson pre-season Novak played 2 scored 1 created 2 Donaldson played 4 scored 0 created 0.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Absolutely spot on neil. Neither player has really been given the chance of a decent run in any position. Unlike Donaldson, they’ve been dropped if they’ve had a poor game. Novak has played in almost as many different positions as Spector…. even goalkeeper and he’s always given 100%. You can’t call a player $hit unless he’s had a good enough run to prove he’s $hit.

  • oldburyblue says:

    I can’t help thinking that both Novak and Thomas would be the sort of targets for us if they had had so little playing time at other Clubs. We would think all they need is a decent run playing in our Team to show their worth.

  • Remi says:

    People moan about Novak but he was top scorer from the wing in a relegation battling team 2 seasons ago and works hard

  • Remi says:

    Still would like a better striker in but wouldn’t call them useless Thomas always looks dangerous from the bench with his pace and strength

  • Mitchell says:

    I like the sentiments shown to Thomas and Novak, but the truth is they are not good enough to support Donaldson. They have been tried many times and failed to make regular impacts. I am amazed to see GR going head on with Fulham for Gayle. If he pulls this off it will be a coup. Facts dictate however that money will decide. Our squad at present will be ok with I feel an average run of win-one,draw-one-lose one mode. This should be ok until money via Backers improve the cycle.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Joe Garner was League 1’s top scorer last season with 26 goals, no one came in for him so he has just signed a new 3 year contract at PNE! Might be an indication that the Championship clubs aren’t spending?

  • raymondo says:

    GR will do as well as anyone could whilst we are in transition as far as BIHL is concerned. I don’t expect miracles but instead a steady improvement until/unless the club is sold. We are still in transition but GR has worked wonders hasn’t he? Unfortunately he has shown Forest how good Tesche can be so they have kept him. Fabbrini too has attracted interst because of his stint with us. We’re lucky that GR came back in time to save us from a much worse position that we could have been in. Let’s be glad of that and not expect too much just yet, as some people on this blog clearly do. If we stay up until we get new owners I’ll be content. KRO.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I agree raymondo that we do, and I include myself in that we get a little over the top on what we expect from Blues this season , it’s just that the start is so important on Saturday against Reading , 3 points and were off and running and we can build from that , loose and it’s doom and gloom and confidence shattered… A draw and it’s same old same old so can’t wait till Saturday to see how I will feel at about 5pm … Let us pray! Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I still see nothing in the first few weeks to get too worried about Dave tbh. Burnley away will be tough and Derby at home… but the rest we’re more than capable of beating. People say Reading have spent well… where? Stephen Quinn, Paul McShane, O Sa, Jonathan Bond and Ali Al Habsi? Nothing to be unduly worried about there. I expect a win on the opening day.

  • mike says:

    scoring goals has never been easy for us but our defence over the last few years (2012 onwards) has been dire !!
    until we can hold up an end and prevent others scoring against us we will win nothing. Makes no difference if we get 2 up ( at Bournmouth ) we still capitulated and let in 4 !!! Our mentality should be that NO-ONE scores against us !! That way we will always get points !!
    .I see nothing with the present squad that will improve on last year .
    Until GR has real money we will always have to rely on cast offs and givaways . All thanks to the Chinese who have raped my club since they came and are still determined to do so by NOT selling us !! Why oh Why did they ever buy us for ? certainly not to make us successful did they !!

  • Dave Mann says:

    Like you staffs I expect a win Saturday and another 6-1 score line and another Dimmi hat trick , I won’t settle for anything less !!.. Though 1-0 would be ok I suppose if I had to bring down my expectations . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I might be a bit optimistic (as always) but I would expect us to beat Reading comfortably. We can only beat ourselves mate… that’s our biggest flaw.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Apparently we’ve bid 700,000 euros for mlapa . Kro

    • Adam True Blue says:

      Could be a usefull signing if paired with CD, though I believe we have competition from Bochum for him, will this be another one to slip through the net. Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    Can’t see them playing together unless rowett changes formation or panics , 4-4-2 only will work , let’s hope if he does sign that he puts major pressure on Donaldson because nobody else is! 4-2-3-1 it will be because we can’t play 3-5-2 with no wing backs and cotterill & Gray must start the season and I want them going forward and not tracking back which theyed be expected to do in a 5 midfield . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I’m a traditional 4-4-2- man myself. 4-2-3-1 bores the ar$e off me tbh. If your one striker isn’t scoring goals, that puts extra pressure on your midfielders to score. Cotterill, Gray and the rest are decent, but (although it’s possible) they’re unlikely to get into double figures. That’s a mighty onus on the one striker… especially if he’s not prolific himself.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Rumour as it were trying to get Gayle from palace on loan ahead of Fulham .. Very good player and if he came in rowett would after play 4-4-2 no question . Kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    I said IF Singapore Brum and yes your right we won’t get him .

    Will we ? .. Kro

  • Tony says:

    This is more encouraging news at last some money being spent, if we can get him it will be good business he could be very useful.
    Cant believe some are still singing the praises of Novak and Thomas, both are dire signed by a dire manager ,quicker they are shipped out the better.

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Too right. They are both good, honest pro’s but playing a division above there ability levels. It looks like GR knows it too if we are in for Miapa and Gayle. Let’s hope at least one of them gets signed up. If we are looking at being top ten championship which we should be we need better than Novak and Thomas and I am astonished there are still people who can’t see it based on the evidence of the last two seasons.

      • Tony says:

        One thing concerns me, why did we not sign the German guy directly after his trial? Rowet must have liked what he saw then.
        Now he decides to move he finds we have competition, I am so grateful to have got rid of the horror that was Clark that I’m loath to criticise Rowett ut he does seem a little hesitant.

        • almajir says:

          Or…

          There is no actual bid been made, it’s all agent talk?

          Why do people always believe what they read?

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        Most f of us can clearly see that Novak and Thomas are not going to set the world on fire but when it’s all we have they deserve our support surely. I just don’t see us replacing them with anything that much better given our current situation. Maybe this time next year it will be different but for now we should just accept it.

  • Dave Mann says:

    I take it your talking about mlapa more so than Gayle I.. Ide love both to be honest mate and to ship out Thomas and Novak who should have gone by now and replace them with these two would be a good bit of business , dead wood out and new blood in , it’s harsh but that’s the way it Is !! Kro

  • Jazzzy786 says:

    I think we’ll get a lot of goals from midfield this year with both Gray and Cotterill getting about 8 goals each. I’m actually annoyed that Johnstone has not had a look in. He has looked pretty good for the u21s and though Donaldson does a good holding job I think he is very wasteful in front of goal. People criticise Novak and Thomas but look at their game time compared to Donaldson. We have a few pacy players in the side now with Gray, Maghoma, Toral and Arthur and we have the makings of a very good counter attacking side. The defence hasn’t looked great pre season and if we can sort that out then we stand a chance.

  • 11thhour says:

    Donaldson = 16 goals up front all season, watford at home, heavy deflection, derby away, brighton away, forest away 1st goal, he knew nothing about, rotherham away, completely missed the opportunity. Not knocking the bloke, but he is an average champ player at best, 31 and just mugged the club off for 3 more years, no competition , this is not healthy.

    Novak, 12 goals from midfield, any other club would love a player that gets 12 goals from midfiled.

    Believe me 2 years ago , he kept us up!!! Still no one likes him.

    Im not saying he is better that Donaldson, what Im saying is he isnt any worse.

    Dont get why poeple love donaldson , but dont rate Novak???


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