Often Partisan

Changes Afoot?

Gary Rowett has talked about the need for Birmingham City to improve their defensive record if they are to regain the form that saw the side briefly in the top two of the division. One clean sheet in the past six games allied to the loss to injury of attacking threats David Cotterill and Clayton Donaldson have made life very tough for Rowett’s men of late.

Before I go any further, I want to be absolutely honest and caveat this piece – I’ve only actually seen Blues in the ground once this year (Saturday will be my second home game) and I’m going on what the consensus of opinion is from social media and forums. I’m not saying that this is what I think should happen – it’s just an idea for debate.

I’ve seen much criticism of late for both of Blues’ full-backs – Paul Caddis and Jonathan Grounds and I wonder if either or both have become complacent knowing that they won’t be dropped. One idea I had to improve the way we play defensively is to maybe reshuffle things and drop either or both for players like Neal Eardley, Shane Lowry or Greg Halford. Any of those players who came in would be told one simple fact – play well, keep the shirt.

I’m not going to pretend that I know that any of those three players will be good enough playing in the team; I’ve been critical of Eardley in the past and I was pretty nonplussed by the signings of Lowry and Halford. However, I also know Eardley was seen to have played quite well in the game against Ipswich away before he was taken off injured and it might be worth a shot playing him again. Grounds has been one of Blues’ most consistently picked players but he seems to have struggled of late and giving him a break might refocus his performances as well as giving another player a chance to shine.

One of the reasons I think our wing play has been decent is that Blues have four who can play who can all offer something – which has meant players have had to up their game somewhat to retain their places. While Cotterill has been injured it’s tailed off somewhat – however I think the emergence of Viv Solomon-Otabor for example will help push Dimmy Gray on in the future. Likewise, I think the midfield competition between David Davis, Maikel Kieftenbeld, Stephen Gleeson, Jon Toral and Andrew Shinnie is good for all.

Dropping established players like Caddis and Grounds will require much bottle – and if it doesn’t work out, it no doubt will cause a bit of a backlash on social media. However, if it does cause players to improve their focus, to spur their performances on it would benefit the team tremendously and I wonder if it’s a risk worth taking.

 

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98 Responses to “Changes Afoot?”

  • Robin says:

    If nothing else it would be a kick up the backside of any player dropped,Grounds in particular was sloppy in the last home game ,but whether the replacements are any better im not so sure ?

    • Des says:

      Got to agrre Robin, his distribution was very poor and then following game @ Brighton he got roasted, as did Caddis!

  • ChrisG says:

    What didn’t help matters was the injury to Robbo, i’d always defended Spector but I don’t think it’s coincidence that we seem to leak more goals when he’s in the side & I know Robbo came in for a lot of criticism from a lot of supporters ( without even playing ), but he upped his game when he came in & we looked a lot more stable. I happen to think Caddis has played alright, he plays the wing back well & contributes going forward, but i’m not a fan of Grounds & against Charlton he was by far the worst player on the pitch, for me he adds nothing to the team, unfortunately I don’t think we have anyone else to bring in at left back.

  • Kaje says:

    The problem is that I don’t think Gary believes that any of the players at the club are better than – or even on a par with – our current full-backs.

    That in itself is the issue. Those positions were not adequately strengthened when the opportunity arose in the Summer, and to an extent the recent loan window (perhaps due to more pressing concerns up front) – Halford is far more a centre-half than a full-back.

    Personally, I wouldn’t have allowed Mitch Hancox to extend his loan. Mitch has proven himself at this level previously, and is more than competent to push Grounds; who certainly has been very weak recently.

    Our issues with cover and lack of competition for places has caused some apathetic individual performances this season, of that I’m convinced. We are lucky that, somehow, we have managed to compete as a team and that success is hiding the fact that Gary Rowett’s insistence on having a ‘small squad’ doesn’t really work over such a long season in such a physical league.

    He’ll certainly have learnt from this, however, and I’d expect a few new faces in January – as has been hinted in recent stories.

    • almajir says:

      From what I have read Hancox has struggled at Crawley which is a shame.

      • Rob says:

        Personally believe the only thing that Mitch has proven is that he’s not good enough at this level. It is a shame, he loves the blues and we love a bluenose in the side, but as far as I’m concerned he would be a no go

  • Blues have the 8th best goals for , and the 8th best goals against , indicating that they need to be stronger in defence and score more goals , but besides that were up for it ….kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I don’t think there’s any doubt that certain players, due to lack of competition for their places, have rested on their laurels somewhat.. but I think that’s human nature to be fair. I think that, at times, Rowett has been a litle bit overly loyal to certain players, especially when they’re off form for whatever reason. That must be a little dispiriting to those chomping at the bit for a chance.

    If the manager doesn’t have confidence in those replacements, why bring them in at all? We’ve only kept 5 clean sheets all season, so I think it might be worth trying a different combination. We have nothing to lose, but 3 points… but we’re doing that lately anyway. Give Lowry and Halford a shot. (I do think we should be looking to switch Grounds to centre back permanently and look to improve the left back position.)

  • Dave Mann says:

    As much as I respect and admire our manager Ime a bit bewildered about the defensive situation he talks about , we have Lowry , Mbende, Halford and Eardley ready to play yet continues with Caddis and Grounds who both have been a bit naff lately .. Yes make a change for Saturday and bring Halford in at centre half put Spector or Eardley at right back and put Lowry at left back .. My opinion but that’s the change for me . Kro

    • Marky mark says:

      So, change all of the defence and fill it with players who have never played together as a back four before,

      Got anymore stupid ideas ?

      • Dave Mann says:

        My opinion , we’ve leaked to many goals recently so why not , any reason why changing three in defence means it’s a stupid idea , idiot ! Kro

        • Marky mark says:

          Sorry Dave, its a brilliant idea.

          You should contact GR with your revolutionary ideas for his back four, he could do with your help as were struggling in 6th spot. clown !

          • Dave Mann says:

            So you know for a FACT that changing three in the back four is a stupid idea yes… Were 6th correct and creating chances up front and that’s why we’ve done well up to know , none of us on here can slag off somebody else’s opinion unless they produce facts that those four players can’t play together ok . Kro

          • Dave Mann says:

            Muppet.

        • Phileni says:

          Although I’ll be holding off the name calling, I have to agree such wholesale changes would do nothing but set the entire team back in terms of communication if nothing else.

          I dont think Caddis has been as bad as Grounds has lately. Also, if you are thinking of taking both full back out then I think you have to have natural full backs to go in. Eardley yes, Lowry for me wouldnt be a natural fit at left back. I know he has played that position before, however, although Grounds isnt rapid by any means, Lowry is a big strong guy who I feel would be left wanting against tricky wingers.

          To change 3 of a back four, when weve consistently played a settled side with the odd change would of course have an effect. I think if anyone can be bothered to look into it, sides across the leagues with the better defensive records will have keep a consistent back four for much of their season so far.

          Please dont come back to me with Man Utd who have experimented whilst remaining steady at the back, theyre spending tens of millions on seasoned internationals, a completely different animal.

          No such radical changes required, a few tweaks maybe brings you to the right formula, but a total change in the guard, for me, totally unnecessary.

        • Bluey says:

          You say,Dave, that no-one can come on here and slag others`views off. Perhaps you could remember that when you do it.

          • Dave Mann says:

            There’s opinion and there’s fact , there is a difference if you care to remember that . Kro

    • ChrisG says:

      Thing is Dave, you can’t make 3 changes to your defense like that especially as none of the players you mentioned have played together before, it’s suicidal

      • Dave Mann says:

        Can’t be any worse than it is now ! Kro

        • Phileni says:

          Cant be worse than it is now? 3 games ago we beat a Fulham team away from home, extremely convincingly, with more than a handful of players with PL experience. not to mention the £11m McCormack in the side. Dave i really think you need a bit of a reality check. Whilst weve not done well at home, which isnt ideal, weve played really well away and picked up some fantastic results. Look where we are in the league. The two players we spent pennies on arent currently in the side and we have one ‘pro’ centre forward (in reality) until the recent signing of Vaughan.

          What exactly is it you expect? I’m bewildered

          • Dave Mann says:

            I was talking about the back four not the rest of the team which have done really well , I go to most away games and I have said many times how good we’ve been so don’t feel to bewildered and that’s my reality on it . Kro

    • Robin says:

      Christ we had that under LC never again

      • Dave Mann says:

        Ime talking three changes not eleven which Lee Clark use to do ! Kro

        • StaffsBlue says:

          We’re not talking wholesale changes, just the odd change in personnel to tighten us up.

          • ChrisG says:

            Tbh Staffs i’d like to see GR give 4-4-2 a go at home, watched Leicester v Man U last weekend on tv & Leicester play that system & still hit on the break. None of the other systems seem to be working at home & I know GR don’t like 4-4-2 but it wouldn’t hurt to give it a go. As we haven’t got too many players to chop & change with i’d rather try a slightly different system

          • StaffsBlue says:

            If we had Donaldson and Vaughan up top, maybe. But against Huddersfield, it will be just Brock-Madsen again Chris. I can’t see how he can play 4-4-2 tbh… unless he plays Gray up with B-M, but I can’t see that working either.

            I think we might see a change at the back, maybe Halford in for Spector, but I would be surprised if anything else changes.

          • ChrisG says:

            Forgot Vaughn can’t play saturday, I suppose he could try VSO with B-M, from what I hear he could make a good striker & he’s definately got the speed. If it’s not working GR can easily change things back to 4-2-3-1 without the need for substitutions by dropping the 2 central midfielders back & drop Gray in behind B-M & push VSO out wide. Blimey i’m in the wrong job!!!!!

  • swissjonny says:

    I would love to see Mbende get a chance.Feel we could do with a bit of physical presence and bite at the back.Mr Mbende certainly would bring that.Whether he is tacticaly aware and ready for his chance is another question.I wonder if Mbende could be the next Noel Blake-again a gentleman very capable of a little enforcement!!!

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Blues couldn’t have two more diverse full backs than Caddis and Grounds.
    Caddis’ strengths are his attacking, support for his winger and his passing. His weaknesses are his size and defensive capabilities, especially his heading.
    Grounds’ strengths are his defending, especially his heading and has a good physique. His weaknesses are his inability to support his winger going forward and inconsistent passing ability.
    All the aforementioned is my opinion.

    • jonno11blue says:

      Sorry Grounds defending has been nothing but average this season and in the last 3/4 matches he’s been very poor. He cost us the goal against Charlton, as it was an unnecessary free kick he gave away. Last Saturday he was beaten at every turn and was lucky to still be on the pitch at half time. His should be the first name off the team sheet for Huddersfield.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If you’re a little suspect in central defence (especially in the air, as we are) then you have to stop the crosses at source, which is down to the full backs.. with a little help from the wide men. But that’s one of our biggest faults defensively, we allow cross after cross to rein in and are then surprised when one or two result in goals. With Cotterill and Donaldson out, we’re likely to score fewer goals than before, which means the defence really need to tighten up if we’re going to get anything out of games. I’m glad it’s Mr Rowett’s problem and not mine. :)

  • KC says:

    Grounds has generally been dodgy in my opinion. Good wingers take him apart and he is so often caught out of position. His distribution can be good , and he has started several moves that have led to goals with decisive passes, but even that part of his game has gone off recently. However no natural replacement. Still do not understand the B-M purchase. Trust GR on this but for a club with little resource £500k + is a big part of the budget and where in a small squad there is little room to carry ” potential”, particularly in relation to the striker position. Hope he comes good soon.

    • jonno11blue says:

      For a young lad who’s just arrived in the country to be faced with a completely different style of football, personally I think he’s done okay in his first two appearances. At Brighton you could see an improvement on the previous Saturday.
      I’m waiting to see Reece Brown and Koby Arthur show improvements

  • zxcv says:

    Moving deck chairs on the Titanic… only one answer, the Jan transfer window. end of.

  • Mitchell says:

    Forget about the defence.It really is not the problem. What we are masking is the fact our attacking players cannot shoot straight AT HOME. Get the coaches to work overtime with our strikers and leave the defence as it is. I would get Halford ready for CF if by half time Brock not looking at the races.

    • chris says:

      a better defence may have got us more draws than defeats so we could have another 3 or 4 points, so defence does need looking at.
      The teams above us generally have less defeats and more draws and less goals conceded so defence does matter

  • Mitchell says:

    What do not see anymore at Stans.is the big bugger going up at CF for the last 20 minutes if needs be. Vince Overson,John Roberts and big Joe Gallaher to name but three. Put a couple on the bench at home- that would shake up our attackers somewhat.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Last season, Grounds got 1 goal, Kiernan 1 and Edgar 1. This season, Robinson has 2, Grounds 1 and Morrison 1. Considering our defenders go up for corners and free kicks, it’s not a lot to show for 60+ games is it.

      • ChrisG says:

        That’s down to crap delivery on corners etc, I mean surely they must practice them in training?

        • StaffsBlue says:

          We’re poor at stopping crosses, we’re poor with long balls into the box, we’re poor at corners and free kicks, we’re poor at shooting. I sometimes wonder what they actually do practice Chris.

  • chris says:

    GR said Lowry was ready for first team action a few weeks ago so give him a chance at left back and hopefully that stirs up Grounds and acts as a warning to the other three defenders.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    I have complained since early doors this season that in my opinion, Grounds is not even Championship quality let alone good enough for Blues first team. Caddis has probably justified his selection based on his forward incursions and ability in turning defence into attack, however his defensive positional capabilities have been very poor. There have been many instances this season when we have conceded very poor goals and immediately observing the back 4, they stare and look around at each other but cannot lay blame as it is usually the result of combined aberration. I am amazed to read opinions that we don’t have a problem at the back and in all honesty, I believe that Morrison is the only regular in the back 4 worthy of a place in a team capable of putting in a promotion challenge. I am just hoping that GR’s apparent optimism that we will have money to spend in January is justified and that there is enough there to make a difference. We cannot afford to repeat the mistake of paying way over the odds for players like Brock-Madsen.

    • zxcv says:

      You can`t make silk purses out of Sow`s ear’s. We have a lot of much of a much ness players, its a simple game you get what you pay for generally, to do better than we are we have to buy better player, yes we have done well but tbh that can only be short term with what we have. Its highly unlikely to over achieve like we have for a whole season especially with such a small squad. I said a good few weeks back we should strike while the iron is hot to attract decent players or we will end up mid table’ish, so I think we have to go with what we have don`t make wholesale changes maybe just the one in defence Grounds, and hope we can stay close to the play offs till the window opens

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      BNS, your comments on the back four are spot on imo

  • The Flying Pig says:

    I agree with Bluenosesol’s point about the back four not being good enough for a promotion push – with the exception of Morrison.
    I think Grounds could do with a rest. He played OK earlier in the season, but seems totally bereft of confidence. The tendency for some of our fans to get on a player’s back doesn’t help at all. Given the lack of an obvious replacement, I’d really like to see Eardley given a go at LB; although it is better balanced with a left-footer, why not try Eardley there? I know he’s hardly distinguished himself with us, but this was a player who looked good for Blackpool and I know many Tangerine fans were unhappy to lose him.
    We need to commit more players forward at home if we are going to score goals, we still don’t get enough bodies into the box for my liking.

    • zxcv says:

      We are not a team to play like that, if we over commit we get caught out. We have to keep it tight and break that’s why we don`t do so good at home, we don`t like the onus on us to play that way.

      • Bluenosesol says:

        It is since we stopped playing up the pitch and started this retreating behind the half way line every time the opposition gets the ball in their own half. that results have been going against us. I don’t buy it!!

      • Dave Mann says:

        Bang on zxcv , that’s why we are so much better away , we sit we counter , at home we can’t break sides down with ten men behind the ball , let’s hope Saturday brings the changes we need . Kro

        • Mitchell says:

          Exactly. We simply don’t have the craft at home to break defences. That’s ok but we still can use a bit of rough ‘batter’ at I have said with crude big uns up front for a final last 20mins. If needed. Not nice I know but effective. VSO is another option for CF. JUst use a different bench at home to that of away because at the moment we are not even favourites against any team at home.

          • ChrisG says:

            I think our biggest problem at home is that the players seem nervous for some reason, also it’s been said many times before we need to play a different system at home

          • StaffsBlue says:

            I’ve mentioned before that the majority of the team/squad were involved in that awful home run of last year and it’s probably still in the back of their minds. The longer we go without a home win, the more it could play on their minds. Just a thought.

  • Dan Baker says:

    I would like to see Blues play 5 at the back. I think sometimes the wingers can leave the fullbacks exposed when an attack has broken down. this would enable robbo to play more as his lack of pace would not be as exposed as much.

    But blues really need to learn to defend from the front, hitting teams on the break and soaking up pressure is ok away. But it wont work against teams that park the bus.

    I trust in GR but I would like to see a plan B, I still don’t think one has been executed successfully yet, and it costs us at home.

  • Dave K says:

    Blues are currently performing well above benchmark of what could be reasonably expected based on the levels of investment we have had in the squad and club infrastructure.

    Rather than individuals with limited cranial capacities coming on here to take part in some form of p**sing competition over who can solve our problems, how about everyone just gets behind the team that Gary Rowett picks?

    We do have a problem at home yes, but ponder this: our way support is amongst the noisiest and hilarious in the country, and look how good our record is….. whilst St Andrews often resembles a library and the away fans generate most of the atmosphere, and look how bad our record is……

    Leave Rowett to pick the system and the team folks, and we should concentrate on doing our bit, you know, singing and getting behind the lads rather than sucking the life out of them by denegrading them through social media…..

    • Dave Mann says:

      Dave K , your third paragraph on away support being great and our form also and home support being poor and our form being poor is spot on .. Fans take note , well said . Kro

  • The aim is for us to score 2 goals per game , and not let more than one in , to do that we need to average 7shots on target per game and play well at the back , it seems that when we try to go forward more often we let in silly goals , so we retreat into our own half when the other side get the ball , its called doubt , all players have it at times , that is why we need sub’s to take the pressure off players that start to lack belief, we need to fortify the defence at the moment so the attacking players can go forward looking for more goals , GR can see this ,leave it to him to sort it , believe, believe, believe….

  • joebradford's ghost says:

    Is this blog becoming more irrelevant by the day as almajir doesn’t actually see any games and news from Hong Kong has dried up now Yeung Pannu are out of the picture?

  • This is still the best blog around the difference is that instead of having a shoulder to cry on we now need a shoulder to scrum down with , to push the club forward , we still have a couple of tics under our skins to get rid of completely , and I have no doubt that Dan will offer his shoulder again , so for all those who have short memories Dan (almijir), has done one hell of a job helping to keep this club on a level plain , so to the bluenose who has done so much RESPECT , to those that think to much of themselves ,UP YOURS,

  • Murph says:

    We’ll said , many have short memories of the info dan has provided and uncovered , it’s interesting how many come on here if it’s that bad !!! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    This blog, irrelevant? Oh, the irony of it!

  • atko says:

    For me I’d bring in Eardsley for Grounds. I thought Eardsley was outstanding against the vile until he got injured. Grounds has been poor for a few games lately. I don’t think it’s complacency, I think certain players need a break. The way we set out stall out in games means our defense has to put in a shift and a half. It’s a long season and players need a break. We have a busy period coming up and need everyone pulling their weight if we are to continue our great season.

  • Mitchell says:

    Away from football. Commenter joebradfords ghost- thought about your comments for a while and not sure about you. Daniel never needs any back up or support from anyone and I sincerely do not wish to embarrass him, but please keep off this site -it is not for you believe me.

  • Dave Mann says:

    As I’ve experienced this week there’s loads of so called experts coming on here challenging my opinions and not supplying facts .. Realise the difference or don’t reply . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      It’s all about opinions and everyone is entitled to theirs. If opinions were all the same, there would only be need for one. But, I discount any opinion when it gets personal.. when an opinion includes an insult at another poster. It’s a simple rule to me.

    • Marky mark says:

      Dave, your entitled to your opinions like anybody else, but don’t get upset and start crying when
      People pass comment on them, particularly when they are laughable.

      I assume you post comments because you want people to read them ?
      If you don’t like the comments don’t post your opinions simple

    • ChrisG says:

      Dave, you really need to stop being so nasty mate, we all support the same team on here, we all want what’s best for “our” club & whether we’re right or wrong we’re ALL entitled to an opinion. It’s seems that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is an idiot & knows nothing, well if everyone agreed with you it would be a pretty boring world. I await your usual sarcastic remark.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    On another note, I’m hoping for a QPR win against Reading tonight. Anything less and we’ll probably drop out of the top 6 to be replaced by Reading.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      We were 7th at half time, but a last minute QPR winner keeps us in 6th place, going into Saturday’s game. A win against Huddersfield is a must if we’re to stay in touch with the top 5, because those below us are much too close for comfort.

  • paule says:

    This site is my first port of call if something is happening down Stans!! Dan is generally spot on with his information and Dave Mann lets us know how we do on our travels especially as I am unable to travel to as many away games as I’d like, the banter on here is good too so what’s there not to like? Be happy joebradfords ghost Blues are doing well the Club seems to be more stable and Dan has worked tirelessly to keep us informed of what’s happening on and off the pitch since this site started, looking forward to the Huddersfield game 2 – 0 Blues Kro.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Thanks paule , but Ime finished with this site . Kro & lol

  • Mitchell says:

    No Dave you are not finished.There are only a few commenters on this site who I would ever want beside me in the trenches- you being one. Your contributions and away game reports are greatly appreciated and through good and not so good times you have tried to keep the humour going and get people smiling. As bluenoses we are all a bit odd but that’s in our blood and that’s what makes us a proper family.

  • Mitchell says:

    I echo that. Dave your resignation is turned down. You will honour your contract for the next 2 years whilst we rid ourselves of CY and co.! Only a few commenters on this site that I would share the trenches with-and you are one.

  • neil says:

    here is one to put in the mix think gary would do well to get him back and would control him

    Ravel Morrison is searching for a new club with Lazio ready to wash their hands of the midfielder.

  • Mitchell says:

    Cold light of day and the search has begun to get Dave Mann back.Hopefully he will have woken up and had a rethink. If not Staffs and myself will have to organise a search for his whereabouts- ending possibly ar Brixham where he caravans etc..now how many caravans at this seaside place has a BCFC flag flying?…

  • Mitchell says:

    Very,very last word on Dave Mann. Open statement to you Dave. Daniel set up OP for I believe the perfect outlet for fellow bluenoses to fathom out the dreadful quagmire of events since CY departure back in 2012. Local radio did their best especially Tom Ross but Daniel delved on all our behalf to gain some info.as to keep up updated. He has been doing this regularly to this very day. We have all commented making this site quite unique. Do not walk away from this Dave-just over a few comments etc. You walk away not only from fellow bluenoses but you walk away fro OP which no other club has.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Reading have sacked Steve Clarke. Oh dear, should have gone to specsav.. err, Fulham. :)

  • Ali Duncan says:

    I don’t like or enjoy being overly critical but Grounds distribution, particularly in the second half, against Charlton was absolutely atrocious. Maybe the bloke needs a rest and, as alluded to by Dan, to know that there is some competition. If there are similar performances over the next couple of games it wouldn’t surprise me if young Mitch Hancox came back from cold from Crawley. As well as the tough tackling element of his game Mitch likes to get forward and the boy can put a telling cross into the box. With Clayton out for a while maybe we need to be thinking about alternative supply lines to BM & James Vaughan.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    If Grounds plays on Saturday, it will be his 60th consecutive league appearance. Maybe a rest would do him good, let him recharge his batteries a bit. Lowry, despite what some fans think of him, has been patient and deserves a chance. If not now… when?

    • Shirley Blue says:

      Grounds has had a bad patch but will come through it and still remains the best left back at the club by a mile. Cotterill struggled last season after Xmas but came through it . Hancox was poor the season we nearly went down under Clark and hasn’t done great at Crawley apparently so can’t see him coming back. GR obviously doesn’t rate him and he will be leaving the club once out of contract like many others have. Decent players will have periods of bad form but as long as the supporters don’t crucify them they get through it. Grounds has been very consistent and has played an important part in the improvement over the last year and people need to remember that.

      • Hillfield Blues says:

        Agree.A steady enough left back at this level and although he’s got the odd rick in him I would say he’s quite reliable.There isn’t exactly a budding Roberto Carlos to take his place anyway is there.

      • StaffsBlue says:

        I suggested a rest (after 60 games) not dropping him. I’ve always liked and supported Grounds since he came into the club and still do.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Caddis and Grounds are both limited and I whilst they are first choices I don’t think we’ll be able to sustain a concerted promotion push.

    The issue is how to handle replacing them. To leave them out now on the premise they are underperforming I see as disengenuous. They can only by a players who are going to be permanent replacements. The questions are who and when?

    Casting my mind back to Reading away last season we went 3-5-2 in the first half and they both didn’t suit the role IMO. Fast forward to now: we have Lowry kicking his heals; Harding highly rated; Mbende recruited; a Spurs fullback on trial; Halford may be recruited if he impresses. Add in Morrison, Spector and Robinson. A surfeit of centre backs. Maybe this is in readiness for 3-5-2 without Grounds and Cadfis

    • Hillfield Blues says:

      They’re good enough for where we’re at as a club financially.When we can get the ownership issue sorted and can throw a few mill at it then maybe we can look at it but for now they do a steady enough job for me.

  • Hillfield Blues says:

    Looking foreward to the game tommorow and taking my 4 yr old lad for his first Blues game (what’s his old man getting him into?).He’s so exited and we all remember our first game with our Dad. Hopefully we can start him off with a solid home win and a few goals to cheer.But I won’t be holding my breath….!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Just a reminder to all those going to the game tomorrow, to get there a little earlier, because of security checks.

    • swissjonny says:

      Keep breeding Hillfield-We need the new generation.I remember my first game-hooked for life.Hope your lad enjoys it and sees a win.

  • edd77 says:

    Well Rowett promised to get us off our seats and he did I left with 9 minutes to go and I never do that ,pathetic !!!

  • Mattblue says:

    My reflections on the game

    Positives:

    The referee was very poor. On another day, we could have had a lot more clear cut chances; for example, Huddersfield’s Goalie picked up a back pass and we lost out on direct free kicks/penalty appeals.

    Toral. He continues to show an ability to take on players 1 on 1, a nice touch, strength and composure. When BM was taken off, he played as a striker and created a good shot for himself. For me, he was the best Blues player on the pitch.

    Negatives:

    Defence. The goal came early in the game and the back line was too far forward. Spector tried to race back but didn’t have the legs for it. It was an easy goal for their winger to set up after only 30 seconds. Grounds was terrible. He made one good tackle but missed headers, misplaced passes and generally had another very bad game. Surprised Caddis was on the bench as LB is our real problem in defence.

    I like BM’s work rate but his first touch and composure is not going to produce the goals we need. If Vaughan can’t start, Toral looks like he’s worth playing as a striker. Gray looks disinterested and Viv Solomon looked hungry when he came on; he created some good half chances.

    Still maintaining the faith and will support every player in every game


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