Often Partisan

Is the blip over?

Birmingham City took another valuable point on the road at Deepdale on Tuesday night – but for a bit more potency in front of goal and the efforts of the Preston keeper it could have been all three. Is this the end of the blip in the Rowett Revolution?

It’s difficult to talk about games when all you’ve seen is a few minutes of highlights on the internet and all you have to rely on is other people’s opinions. At half time it seemed from those who were there and tweeting that Blues were on course for another horror show but a far superior second half saw Blues come back into it – and judging by the highlights but for a little more guile in front of goal they’d have taken all three.

There seemed to be quite a bit of criticism online for Dimmy Gray; yes the chances he missed were poor but I think we have to remember he is only 19 and he is in no way the finished article. It does seem slightly insane to me that we rely so much on a teenager and I wonder (as I’m too young to have experienced it first hand) if “Superboy” Trevor Francis was given the same amount of criticism if he has anything less than a stellar game. I don’t think we’ll see the best of Dimmy at Blues – it’s inevitable he’ll go on to bigger and better things but I’ve enjoyed seeing a talent grow and improve; it hurts that we’re not a top club who can hold on to the very best for their careers but it’s still something that we get to see a burgeoning talent blossom.

Blues face Cardiff tomorrow night and I’m hoping that they can take all the positives of the last couple of games and push them into a positive home performance. Blues haven’t scored at home for some time and I think a goal would do wonders to lift the atmosphere of the place; I’m not going to go down the route of calling for 4-4-2 but I do think Blues need to be more positive; play with more purpose and guile than they have done of late at St Andrews. I think Jon Toral has to start if he’s fit enough to do so; I really do think he’s the best player we have for the number 10 slot.

One player who might not make it is Jonathan Grounds. The left back picked up a knock in the draw against Preston and he hasn’t trained on Wednesday to try and rest it. If he doesn’t make it it’ll be interesting to see who Rowett plays in his place. I think it will be Shane Lowry – although Rowett seems to have been loathe to trust the former Leyton Orient defender he’s the only fit player who can properly play the position at the club; Mitch Hancox could be recalled but I just cannot see that happening.The other option is Greg Halford but he’s not naturally left-footed and I don’t think Rowett will try him out there for 90 minutes.

Although Blues have somewhat slipped away from the playoff mix I am still positive we can make the top six come the end of the season. It’s been a tough run of games but I think in James Vaughan we’ve seen someone who can be our pacy strike option (as I think Wes Thomas may well have played his last game for the club); if we can keep him fit and sign him from Huddersfield on a longer term basis I’d be very happy. What it comes down to is home form – if we can improve that once more that’ll be fine.

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33 Responses to “Is the blip over?”

  • Dave Mann says:

    Let’s remember it’s five games without a win so Cardiff at home tomorrow is a must win for me if we are going to push on and get in to that top six which I think we are capable off … Donaldson and cotterill will be available for selection for our next game on Boxing Day up at Sheffield wed so three points tomorrow and those two back and the window coming up means we could be in the mix come January and that would keep our season interesting and give us something to cling on to in the winter months . Kro

  • Rob Ball says:

    TF was talented way beyond Dimmi and delivered the unexpected most weeks. There was very little criticism but we knew he would move. There was no social media, just the pub. Sadly, the coaches too away TF’s flair. He was better at 16/17 than anyone I have ever seen (including Dugarry, who is also a genius).

    • StaffsBlue says:

      TF was better at 16 than Gray is at 19 or probably ever will be. But really, it’s pointless comparing today’s players to those of the past. There’s no comparison really. Today’s players are much fitter, but far less talented.

    • daddyblue says:

      Totally agree Rob. Imo the injury that our Trev got robbed us of seeing one of the greatest players this country had ever seen. He had the ability to be going at full pace suddenly stop and change direction but after he tore his ankle tendons, he could no longer do this and when he tried he slipped over. Kro

  • Mitchell says:

    Something for me changed during that second half at Preston. Whatever it was from frame freezing the sky highlights-I saw every player busting a gut and firmly believe an extra half hour would have netted us many goals. As bluenoses we are all a bit ‘off the planet’ and on match days we don’t think quite straight-but I have this warm glow that Cardiff will be the glorious start of a great run with Don and Cotts.in tow. Not bothered about defensive formations at the moment, just carry on from the Preston 2nd half attacking belief.

  • chudlt says:

    Trev was a one off it’s unfair to compare him and Dimmi. I can’t remember him being criticised but then again he was always scoring. Fans these day have little patience and no appreciation of the away teams abilities.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It’s quite simple, if we don’t win at home tomorrow night, we’re in a mini home crisis, it’s as simple as that. A top 6 side doesn’t keep losing home games. Having said that, I think that, after two really frustrating games (for the players) the floodgates might just burst. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

    As for Donaldson and Cotterill, there’s no guarantee they’ll be back for Boxing Day. Rowett is hoping they will be, but we’ll have to wait and see. I think they’ll start on the bench even if they are.

  • rhees says:

    Lets be honest if at the start of season they said we would be where we are now we would have been thrilled.
    There’s always one team that makes the play offs through the back door after a late run,and if Garry gets who he wants January I fancy us for that possition.
    Anyone know how far away clayton is ?

  • Dave Mann says:

    If they make the bench Boxing Day that will do for me … as for the home form your right staffs that we have no chance of making top six if it continues , Cardiff will hopefully come out to play and we can pick them off with our pace and Nick the points we absolutely need and the win to give all of us a boost up to xmas … Then roll on Hillsborough and a guaranteed good away performance to boot . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      According to Rowett in the BM, Cotterill and Robbo are back in training, Donaldson is a few days away yet… maybe not until next week.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I would be surprised if Cardiff came to sit back, it’s not really their style.. although, other teams have had sucess at St Andrews doing that, so you never know. Personally, I think it could be a very open game… but we need to be at our best to beat them.

    • ChrisG says:

      I think the best thing that could happen tomorrow night staffs is for us to get an early goal, it will settle the nerves ( of players & fans) & I think the players will relax a bit & we could go on to get a comfortable win. It’s obvious they’re nervous at home & it’s probably playing on their minds that we haven’t won for a while, I mean they’re only human

      • StaffsBlue says:

        As I said a week or two ago, the bulk of the squad were here in our last bad home run. It’s nowhere near as bad, but they’ll still remember it clearly and it might play on their minds. Fortunately, we have enough players who weren’t here and I don’t think this run will go on much longer.

        As for scoring first, I think that if we do, a few players who have been misfiring could fiill their boots. Fingers crossed.

  • nicko says:

    we need to score first i actually think we will hammer some one at home soon lets hope its Friday night
    Vaughn to get his first goal and dimmi to make up for Tuesday with a goal kro

  • Bluefire says:

    I’d settle for a point against Cardiff but any blip we’ve had has, as pointed out by some, been at home. We have not scored from OPEN PLAY in our last SEVEN home games, with the only two goals coming from a free kick and a pen against QPR. As well as we’re doing we can’t keep relying on away points; what if the away form dips? A point against Cardiff, and nothing less than a win against MK Dons in the following home game and I’d say our blip was over.

  • Bluenosesol says:

    The Preston fans are waxing lyrical about Dimmi and we are putting the boot in? Ah well says everything really!! My issue is that when we were quickly ascending the league, we played on the front foot. Long periods against Brighton, Boro and Preston have shown that we CAN play on the front foot. It is this insistence that we are a low capability side that has to play in our own half and hit the opposition on the break especially at home that is undermining our ability to get back to winning ways. Sod the opposition Get at Em!!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      To do that, we need to stop sitting back early doors. We have a propensity to start really slowly in games and get stronger as the game goes on. But as you said, let’s buck that trend and get at ’em!

  • Dave Mann says:

    We haven’t scored first at home for god knows how many games so that’s a must tomorrow if we are to win .. Cardiff score first then it could be another home defeat and another fustrating evening .. We keep saying that someone’s gonna get a hiding at stans but we are all still waiting patiently, let’s hope Friday night is a good night and a performance to give us that feel good factor . Kro

    • Marky mark says:

      Dave, given that you see more away games tthan the average bear, what do you think is the fundamental difference between our home performances and the away ones then ?

      Is it simply a case of having more space to exploit with pace away from stans ?
      Is it the feeling of pressure at home ?
      Is it a mental thing ?

  • Dave Mann says:

    Marky mark, I think without stating the obvious it’s a combination of all those three points you’ve brought up .. We get more space away as it’s the home teams perogative to attack us and the way we set up it plays in to our hands with the pace on the break .. The support at home can get a bit drab when things aren’t going well like it is now, individuals get picked on and one or two of the players seem to get affected by the lack of atmosphere where away everyone’s together the fans never stop singing and players aren’t singled out for abuse like home games and the team seems less pressured in to giving a performance … And mentally the players seem to hit a brick wall at home instead of the goal , more pressures applied by the fans to get forward and to attack at all costs , it’s not the way Rowett sets up , he likes players to stay organised at home where away they seem to have more freedom, that’s the way I see it anyway mate . Kro

  • Tonyd says:

    Trev was pretty much beyond criticism, but he was a dazzling player in a very good side that were really entertaining to watch. Comparisons are odious, though, and we should accept where we are and give thanks that we are generally heading in the right direction. One thing I think we can learn from the Trevor Francis experience is how we treat young players with injuries. Trev was given pain-killing injections and shoved back onto the pitch way too often. I even recall him getting briefly knocked out at the Hawthorns (I think it was). The trainer held him upside down on the side of pitch until the blood had flowed back to his brain ( presumably), and he was sent back on when he had ‘recovered’. I’d like to think we are more scientific and protective of our young players these days.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Jose mourinho sacked . Kro

  • KC says:

    TF deserved to make his England debut much earlier than he did. I think he was 20 ish and played against Holland in a 2-2 draw at Wembley.

  • Jbfrom Oz says:

    Mourinho bought house in Trinity Road.
    Rumoured to be in line for desk job at Villa Park.
    However Villa Park been ‘re-zoned as Allotments.
    Land more useful for food production..eg Turnips
    & Potatoes.
    Phew!! What a day?

  • Gerard says:

    re TF first England appearance I was there at the old Wembley- Revie played him totally out of position sitting on the wing hardly had a touch as he was I think starved of the ball on purpose , by a manager who picked Brian Little over before TF and Revie recently had managed a team of thugs at Leeds- and for the record Cruyff ran the game and England lost 2-0 , totally out -footballed then what did you expect under Revie?
    Re the TF injury I was there sustained at Bramall Lane just as TF was tearing teams apart –with the help of the best forward line ever seen at St.Andrews HATTON-LATCHFORD FRANCIS assisted by Alan Campbell superb ball playing midfielder who if had a yard of pace would have been world class-and of course Gordon Taylor that lot cost less than £150k all together -value today? If we only had a decent defence we would have won everything still wonderful times gates of over 50k in the old second division and averages of 36k plus per season
    Finally I saw TF first game at Cardiff lost 2-0 came on he hit the post I thought cheeky young so and so what did I know then ?

    • The Sceptic says:

      HATTON – LATCHFORD – FRANCIS the best forward line at St Andrews without doubt. If we only had them now.

      Does my memory serve me correctly when I recall TF intercepting and running over half the length of the pitch and slotting the ball past the vile keeper at the Railway End. Final score 3-0?

      Bobby Hatton scored one of the finest headers of the ball I have ever seen, but I don’t remember who it was against. Perfect cross, rose up over the whole defence and a downward header with so much force it nearly burst the Tilton Road net.

      Duggary’s big strength was his ability to win a high ball, bringing it down, controlling it, then turning to beat the defender on his back

  • Gerard says:

    ps- Please never compare Dugarry to TF–Dugarry a great player TF was a GENIUS believe me , yes I am biased but during his years at the club which was about 10 years I saw the majority of his games home and away, today his value would be on par with Messi perhaps even more I know some of you find it hard to believe but in those days they played on mud heaps-with heavier boots and balls and TF was just sublime I doubt Messi could have coped -and Dugarry had just 2 seasons with us first year great -second year good -TF was always great

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Agree with all that. I saw TF do things with a ball that I’ve never seen anyone else do.

      One abiding memory I have of him, was in the FA Youth Cup. He led Villa’s John Gidman round by the nose over two legs. At one point, he won a corner (iirc) and as he walked away towards the Villa 18 yard box, he looked over his shoulder at Gidman and nodded his head, as if to say “Come on son, keep up.” Now that’s cheek lol

  • andy says:

    The blip is not over no. Until Blues can start winning their home games, the blip continues

  • Talk of callum macmanaman bid , is good but although a good goal scorer seems to enjoy time on the wing and has not got a good goal scoring record , so is wba letting go because they need what we want free goalscoring wingers , I do feel that the club is getting a too defensive attitude in looking for players , we need match winners to go for gold , goalscorers . kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Word is that Bournemouth want to sign him too. Thing is, why on earth would we want another winger? :-/ We already have 4.


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