Often Partisan

Small and Tight

Birmingham City are the one conspicuous gap in what is a full Championship programme after their game against Brentford was postponed due to the Bees re-laying their pitch. Although it means Blues will somewhat lose some ground on other teams it will mean that Blues players won’t be risking injury on a poor playing surface.

I can understand some of the outpouring of vitriol at Brentford – after all, the close season is there to get the pitch right and to have to relay it two weeks into a new campaign doesn’t look good for their levels of professionalism. However, Blues fans will not be out of pocket with Brentford agreeing to compensate up to £100 in travel costs (with much kudos to the Blues Collective for being involved in negotiations to secure this). Details of how to claim are here.

It means Blues will go into their match on Friday with almost a whole week’s worth of rest while Derby face Middlesbrough tonight. I’m not sure how much difference that will make at this stage of the season – players should be fairly fresh after a summer break and while it’s been the normal intense start to the season with three games in the opening eight days, I wonder if Blues’ upwards momentum over the last few games will be interrupted by the break.

I’m intrigued by Gary Rowett’s insistence on only needing a “small and tight” squad of 21-22 for the Championship. Although there is a gap this week there will be runs of games where Blues will be playing Saturday-Tuesday/Wednesday-Saturday and I think it will be a test of the squad to remain fit and ready for every game as it comes. Blues were remarkably lucky with suspensions and injuries last year – and while I know Blues have aimed to sign players that have had few injuries I also know it’s sod’s law that we’ll get them as we start to think it won’t matter.

I think the real test for Rowett this year will be how he will react to those kinds of situations – especially if it requires a change in tactics due to the differing strengths of players available. One of the few things I liked about Lee Clark was his readiness to dip into the pool of younger players available to shore up his squad and I wonder if Rowett will do the same when the situation demands. It’s my understanding that he wants a smaller squad with the idea that the development squad players will fill in the gaps – but it’s one thing to say it and another to do it.

I can already see people saying that I’m needlessly criticising Rowett but I’m not at all – I will stress here and now he’s been a breath of fresh air within the club and he’s made going to St Andrew’s a happy experience once again for me at least (I can’t speak for anyone else but I assume others feel the same). It’s more that I’m interested to see how he develops as a manager in the long-term – and I’m more hopeful than fearful he’s going to continue to be seen as our version of the “Special One” – the Bromsgrove Mourinho.

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43 Responses to “Small and Tight”

  • asif says:

    as suggested they have had end of season to sort this out. would be nice to fine them and three points to the blues!!!! at the moment they are a new team with new management and i saw this game as 3 points/ who is to say later brentford have gelled and improve and beat us

  • Walker says:

    Agreed we should have been offered the points. I bet they would have sorted the pitch quicker then!

    I also agree that rowett is breath of fresh air and I can see him managing in the prem within 4-5 years (hopefully with us!)

    But the lack of back up for donaldson and a centre half to replace liability spector does concern me.

    Thomas obviously isnt good enough in rowetts eyes and neither was novak (as proven). what I dont get is who is he waiting for? I think there maybe somebody specific pondering over.

  • I think the small squad is to save money more than anything else , playing Gillingham will give us a chance to have a look at their centre half John Egan , as he looks promising ….

  • Jack Smalls says:

    Hysterical, you want 3 points because a game has been postponed.. that’s the spirit Birmingham, what a laugh..

    • almajir says:

      Did Football Manager not tell your staff you needed a decent pitch to play on ;)

    • Blue Lizard says:

      The laughs on you…one the best managers in the league forced out …and unable to provide a playing surface adequate for the championship which lets face it you will need for a while in your tiny old fashioned stadium…enjoy your season when you decide to play

  • fingles says:

    The shortcomings of the squad are blindingly obvious whoever our manager is.To have no cover for Donalson and very weak cover at CB,indeed not even enough quality in our players available is a worry.

  • ChrisG says:

    From what I understand Brentford did relay their pitch in the summer but it didn’t take, a problem that we ourselves had serious prolems with in the past, they also requested permission from the FL & blues to cancel the game. Personally I think it was a good decision as I for one don’t wanna see players getting injured or a game where 2 teams are playing hoof & hope football to avoid the divots. We have a big game on friday nite & ‘m hoping for payback as they stuffed us 4-0 at blues last season.KRO

    • John Ramsay says:

      I agree with Chris, rather Brentford sort their pitch out than we get players injured as Ipswich did. As for the need for a striker and CB Rowett knows we need strengthening and he will sign players soon. He has already said he’s been offered lots of players but he’s waiting for the right ones to become available. I have every faith in Rowett, the best manager we have had in a very long time imo.

  • Stephen says:

    My gut thinking is that if GR can get in the 2/3 players he wants then he will have no funds left – so he is being cute by saying he only needs a small squad. Come January, should there be a possibility of finishing in the top 6, I think Trillion may provide the readies for a bigger squad. I assume it would be in their interests (as well as BIH and Carsons) to maximise on the future sale price. Personally I don’t think we would be able to get promotion this year but the bookies have got it entirely wrong on having us as relegation candidates. I taken a bet accordingly.

  • RednalBlue says:

    Letting Lee Novak move out to Chesterfield on a season’s long loan last week came out of the blue. I guess GR has a new striker close to signing to replace him. Have you heard anything Dan. Maybe some young up and coming player from a premier league team we haven’t heard about.

  • Roy Smith says:

    The fact that Blues’ purchase of Kieftenbeld for as little as £170,000 seems to have depended on there being a good exchange rate with the euro, makes it clear that we have very little money to spend, so strengthening our team would look to depend on loans rather than buying players.
    Spector worries me, he and Morrison continually headed the ball straight up into the air against Reading rather than heading it clear and caused us numerous problems as a result, but if you can’t afford a replacement you have to make the best of it.
    Anyway why be negative, a good start to the season so far with Toral and The Don looking good, A mid table finish, get rid of Carson and look forward to playing the Vile next season.

    • Tmsblues says:

      A small squad can work for you and yes it looks like with a couple of signings we might be in good shape . Many are worried about Spector who has done ok so far but I can’t see us challenging for anything with a dodgy goalie behind the defence. How we took him ahead of Brad Jones is beyond me. Just hope Rosetta realises his faux pas and gets legzdins in sooner rather than later.!

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think it’s a good thing that we’re going with a smaller squad. It seems the manager has a preferred team and I can’t see those outside the regular starting XI getting much of a look in tbh. The kids have got little or no chance of breaking through this season. The smaller the squad, the less players you have to keep happy. Makes sense to me.

  • Carl71 says:

    After watching the Burnley game at first hand i’d like to say…. What a thoroughly professional and organised performance from everyone in a blue shirt. Playing the ball out of defence, not panicking when under attack, looking dangerous in attack and always looking for the outlet often offered by the Don and Toral well done to GR for instilling this basic team principle. I know that GR like me will be chastising Cotterill and Spector for their very expensive and somewhat petulant errors so the extra 2 points we deserved will be forthcoming in the next 36 matches this season once these errors are eradicated. Yes Spector may not be the best likewise limited cover for Morrison and Donaldson are a concern but hey we are what we are in Rowett we trust and i am 100% behind his hudgement in all things blue (Toral what a game). I read this site daily and have no interest in Carson / BIHL / or whatever bo###x is going on in China made less interesting more so now we have a team that wants to play for the manager and seemingly for the fans also. Proud to be a bluenose KRO all.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Re: “No money” – it makes good business sense to have a public perception of ‘no money’ to aid negotiations and manage expectations. Remember how many on here thought we were on the brink of administration?

    I’m not saying we’re flush but …

    • StaffsBlue says:

      From what was said in the summer, that there was money available for the squad, I don’t think it necessarily meant for transfer fees, which some fans thought.. but for slightly better wages. If we can pick up better quality players, on better wages, for next to nothing, who cares about transfer fees. I’m quite happy about the way we’re recruiting so far.

    • Blue Lizard says:

      Remember Yeungs boast of “£40 million now” and “another £40 million in the closed season” everytime we asked about a player the price was ridiculous after that!! sometimes better to keep schtum!

  • Dave Mann says:

    It’s pretty obvious to our manager that the kids coming through are not ready for first team squad inclusion so he’s sticking with his tried and tested and the ones he trusts so he can pick a steady and a preferred 11 and 7 subs so let’s see what happens over the next week or so with the window and take it from there . Kro

  • CB_Block 4 says:

    I am hopeful that Rowett doesn’t neglect the younger members of the squad. The likes of Hancox, Brown and Arthur all in my opinion, have massive futures at the cubs. Too often in this country we are guilty of ignoring what’s coming through the ranks. Brown in particular is a talent that we have all seen do it before when asked.
    I know that the situation surrounding Reece Oxford at West Ham has been talked up somewhat, but it’s refreshing to see a Premier League manager put faith in an young English talent.
    Saying that, like many at St Andrews these days, I am keen to commend the job Rowett has done thus far. We may only be 2 games in, but being a nose I’m hopeful for this season… KRO

  • What blues need is a volunteer squad of statisticians to troll every league in the world one by one to find the best bargains and the best up and coming stars worldwide ,.

  • Eric says:

    Bromsgrove Maurino – I hate that title for Rowett who is very much NOT an arrogant manager. Besides Maurino has 1 point from two games!!!!!!!

  • atko says:

    I think he has made it clear where we are at with regard to the size of the squad. He wants a couple more players. If there are injuries then he is more likely to shuffle things for a game or two or if it is likely to be medium to long term I think he will loan someone in. I wouldn’t mind betting that he has at least one loan replacement in mind for every single player in our first team just in case. I think it’s sensible management IMO.

  • andy says:

    I understand Rowett’s smaller squad, he knows he has a great bunch of players who want to play for Birmingham and give their all for the Blue shirt. Whilst Lee Clark was bringing players in on loan, they in turn were not interested in playing for the club as Robbo once famously stated. There seems to be a close connection between the manager, his staff and the players and it is paying dividends.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Have to say, I’m not a fan of loan players at all. Maybe the odd one in an emergency, but that’s about it. You’ll never get the commitment you will from your own players.

  • Chris allen says:

    Just felt the need to defend Jonathan spector. I think too many people label him a “liability” . He’s definitely not the best defender in the league but definitely not the worst either. I understand the point we are short of central defenders but we should get fully behind the players we have got. He was m.o.m against reading.

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      Good shout Chris. They used to be called utility players and every squad needs a few of them. Can also do a job at rught back and in midfield if needs be.

  • Tony says:

    Yes I agree, Spector is a quality player, he lacks a bit of pace and he is injury prone but he is definitely worth his place in the team.

  • Mark H says:

    When I saw the headline, small and tight, I thought David Sullivan had put a cheeky bid in for us.

  • Blues fan says:

    Sorry but I have to disagree Spector is average at best he didn’t win a thing in the air Saturday he fouled that player in the box he can’t kick the ball very good their is no way he is quality. Morrison needs a proper central defender along side him. I don’t rate our full backs either burnley we’re getting passed the both of them far to easy and they need to learn how to pass the ball to a blues player instead of hoofing in anywhere.

  • Kford Bluenose says:

    What we’d give to have Sullivan and the Golds back now. The best owners in our history no mistake.

    • Mitchell says:

      I totally agree. Without Gold and Sullivan we would not have seen the liked of Savage, Dugarry, Cunningham, Upson, Forsell, Zigic,Bentdner etc. They were memorable years with Prem.football to delight in..our upper hand in Villa clashes to recall just a few. Gold and Sullivan were at the helm to supply all this and for me will be grateful.

    • David L says:

      Not so sure about ….”in our history”…Whilst the Daily Sport era might have been good, others were up there too.

      Apologies if I’m playing the old man here, but the regimes that brought us

      a) League Cup success and European style in the early 60s
      or
      b) The Pickering/Bridges/Greenhoff era
      or
      c) the Francis/Latchfords/Burns/Hatton era

      might have a fair shout at being considered equally successful and certainly enjoyable to watch

  • Dave Mann says:

    Couldn’t agree more Mitchell , out best moment was under Carson yeung but our best ever years were under Sullivan & Gold absolutely no argument what so ever 2002 – 2009 , quality players , quality team , memorable times slapping the vile , great stuff !! Kro

  • Singapore Brummie says:

    Golds, Sullivan and Brady. What a team. They ran a tight ship but they provided more backing than anyone before or since.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Apparently we’ve got a central defender by the name of Emmanuel Mbende from Dortmond on trial and playing for the U21s today against Colchester , he’s 19 and looking at his options , interesting! Kro

    • Richard Granfield says:

      Dave…This guy Mbende makes Adebayo (The Beast) Akinfenwa look puny.
      Viewing him on You Tube he looks as raw as a piece of steak and just as skilful.
      I would be surprised if he was signed up on that showing.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I like Bayo. Looks fat, but it’s all muscle. Love to watch him rough up defenders, no little skill either.

  • Mitchell says:

    Not sure about these triallists getting press time. It’s making them stars even before hitting a ball at Wast Hills. Before we know it they generally are history.

  • Blue Lizard says:

    Don’t know about this lad…personally I would prefer a dunnit at this level experienced defender who can fit quickly in…….maybe this is one hes looking at for the “future”?

  • Blue lizard says:

    Mbende sent off ………that’s that then………..Next!!!!!

    • Mitchell says:

      Mixed views on this sending off. Could it be the lad is a committed type who could be just what we need? GR may see it the same.


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