Often Partisan

Keep the Faith – Sheffield Wednesday Reflections

The resurgence in Birmingham City’s form met a brick wall at Sheffield Wednesday with the Owls running out comfortable 3-0 winners. Two goals in two first half minutes put Carlos Carvalhal’s men in control with Fernando Forestieri adding his second and Wednesday’s third early into the first half.

Let’s be honest, Boxing Day was not a good day. Shocking defending (and according to Gary Rowett refereeing) contributing to a two goal half time deficit, compounded by the kiosks running out of food long before I got to the front of the queue and topped off by poor Andy (of SHA fame) almost needing to resort to lube to squeeze his car in and out of the last parking space in what must have been Sheffield’s narrowest of streets.

However, despite what some of the demagogues on social media and forums have said post-game, it wasn’t that bad. If anything, it wasn’t as bad as the Huddersfield home game – for a period of about 20 minutes we actually did look like we might get a consolation goal.

Yes, our full-backs appear to have forgotten how to defend; Jonathan Spector smashed a clearance against David Davis to set up Kieran Lee for their second while the forward line appeared to forget entirely what they were supposed to do in the first half – but this is the nature of this team. As Rowett pointed out in his post-match interview if this team don’t perform to 100% they are going to struggle.

We’re missing our two main goal threats and outlets in David Cotterill and Clayton Donaldson, we’re reliant on a 19 year old who’s getting double teamed every week to try and lift us; and the only alternative to an out-of-form Jonathan Grounds is Shane Lowry [shudder] while Neal Eardley appears to have run over several black cats as he cannot catch a break and remain fit enough to keep Paul Caddis out of the side.

On the plus side Tomasz Kuszczak actually made some decent saves; Donaldson looked bright and not at all rusty in his return to action from the bench and Viv Solomon-Otabor seems to be continuing to improve as he gets more minutes under his belt.

This wasn’t about Blues having Christmas Day off – Sheffield Wednesday apparently had the day off too. The fact is that right now Blues are struggling with injuries to key players and with a lack of investment in key areas – which could be down to anything from lack of money to lack of available quality to reticence to sign players “for the sake of it”. (Again, Lowry? Why?)

The hope is that January will see investment in the team. It’s more than likely going to be loans rather than transfer fees (unless Dimmy goes, and I’ll be talking about that tomorrow)… but judging by figures and names I heard banded around on deadline day it might be the quality of loanees will be better; clubs might be more inclined to let someone decent go if they’re getting 15-20k per week in wages as contribution rather than 3-5k. That coupled with the return of a few players might mean a better New Year.

There will be joys and sorrows and right now we’re having a few of the sorrows – but look at it this way. Even in 10th position I’m willing to state here and now we have more chance of being a Premier League team next year than our friends from across the expressway. Keep the faith, and keep right on.

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70 Responses to “Keep the Faith – Sheffield Wednesday Reflections”

  • AussieBlue says:

    Well said Dan. It’s still amazing what has been achieved given our circumstances.
    The road goes ever on…….JRRT

  • Dave Mann says:

    We only started playing at 3-0 down but to little to late for me , people acuse me of not being a realist but that could not be further from the truth , if we play great I will say it , if we play well I will say it , if we play ok I will say it , if we play rubbish I will say it and yesterday was between rubbish and ok and that’s keeping it real … In reality top six is possible if we get Donaldson and cotterill back on form and three good players in January .. In reality if that don’t happen then it’s mid table mediocrity .. I think that covers it . !!

    • BhamCityJulian says:

      Spot on Dave. Some people just do not want to hear criticisms.

      I still contend that a team with Caddis, Grounds, Spector at CB, Davis, Shinnie, Robinson, Lowry, BM getting in the matchday squad will not get us in the playoffs.

      As well replacements for the outfield defence except Morrison we need a midfield general alongside Kieftenbeld and Gleeson (Tesche was that player I guess) and a striker who can score 15 goals.

      Despite ‘there is money’ I’d be surprised if the necessary quality arrives in January

      • almajir says:

        To be fair Julian… it’s not like you to be pessimistic is it? ;)

        • BhamCityJulian says:

          I’m a realist. I think if you look at my posts there’s a mixture of so called negatives and positives. Much more of the former in the Clark days and that was valid from the start :-)

        • BhamCityJulian says:

          Boxing Day was excruciatingly poor

          • almajir says:

            Was you there? I was – and I’ve seen worse this season. Sheffield Wednesday are a very good side, they made us look bad (although we helped). As I’ve said before Julian, you have to admit you do see things as being half empty…

      • Shirley Blue says:

        I don’t see what the point is in being critical of a group of players and management team who are doing their level best and when we are obviously going through a difficult patch with key players being out injured. When I can clearly see incompetence I am the first to be critical eg the previous manager but that is not what I am seeing at the moment. We need a good transfer window there is no doubt about that to lift everyone including us supporters.

  • John Ramsay says:

    Your mood does vary Dan. In the circumstances that is a positive piee compared with your pessimistic piece from last week. I think that a year ago we would have taken tenth, we’ve been spoilt because with average players we have been over achieving. Hopefully we can bring in a couple of quality players in January and kick on again.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    As I see it, we need a left back, a centre back, a combatative midfielder, a creative midfielder and a striker. Well, we all know we ain’t gonna get that lot, so it’s a case of which 3 of the 5 is vital to getting us back on track and pushing up.

    Personally, I’d have a left back, a centre back and a creative midfielder.

  • Waller says:

    What happened to the big African guy who went to Ipswich during our European journey. Can’t remember his name

  • Brian says:

    The manager should not have let the players have Christmas Day off. Trevor knows best.

  • Blue Steve says:

    This current squad is not top 6. We have over achieved and we have only won 2 in our last 11 games. – so clearly things are starting to level out. However there is still an opportunity. With MK Dons to come next and the January window opening imminently we could still make 6th.

    • Dave Mann says:

      Unfortunetly Blue Steve I have to agree with that , two or three additions and we can still make top six but as it is now were just a little short but two home wins on the spin could put us back in the mix again and attract maybe a better quality of player if that’s possible in the window . Kro

  • What we have at Stan’s is a squad of players whereby some of them are not premiership quality , and what these non prem players have got to except is the fact when somebody states it , and then believe this that if it wasn’t for the 100% that these lads have given blues would not be as high in the league as they are if it wasn’t for them , and then go out there on the pitch and give it hell , when these days are gone they will be gone for ever ,……enjoy

  • Dave Mann says:

    Don’t you mean championship quality William ? Kro

  • StevieW says:

    It is not injuries that is the problem it is the standard of player we have. Yes they will keep us in this league but they are not going to be challenging for any play off place.

    And if you think the Don and Cotters coming back is going to change things to the point we will all be expecting a win every week I suggest you think again. They are as average as the rest of the team.

    This is where we we are and it will not change unless January heralds 5 or 6 Prem class players that can play as a team from the off.

  • Eric says:

    Regardless of yesterday’s result it’s still a lot better than Clark era

  • ChrisG says:

    I think the next 2 games are winnable & we really DO need to win them to have any chance of a top 6 finish, but with our home form being so iffy even i’m starting to doubt us & i’ve tried to remain positive over the last couple of months.

    • Dave Mann says:

      As I said earlier Chris our home wins are returning and away defeats returning , we will win the next two home games mate don’t worry , keep the faith pal , there’s to many writing us off already after yesterday . Kro

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        When we were top of the away league it was because the bulk of the games were against lesser teams. The away results herein are unlikely to continue to subsidise our mediocre home form

      • ChrisG says:

        You’re right Dave sorry i’m not writing us off yet, i’m just very disappointed about yesterday cos I honestly thought it was a game we’d win, good thing is though we have a chance to put things right straight away & with players coming back & less than a week to the transfer window I still think we’ll make the play offs, all teams have a blip, i’m hoping this is ours & will be over sooner rather than later

  • nicko says:

    i agree with what dan said also running out of food well before half time for 35 minutes not a lot in the game then first goal turned it on its head the 2nd goal was a joke.on to the 2nd half toral should have pulled one back took to long in bringing the ball down they clear 15 seconds later in the back of our net say no more kro

  • Dave Mann says:

    There was plenty of booze so not to worry :-) kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think that the return of Cotterill and Donaldson can only give the team a boost. Whether it will be enough is another matter… but at the least the first XI will be back together and they’ve proved already that they can push up into the top 6. Two or three quality additions in January should bolster the squad and maybe getting firing on all cylinders again. Saying that, although Rowett’s done brilliantly since he came in, we have to accept the odd bad defeat like yesterday.

  • Dave Mann says:

    As you’ve just said staffs , that first eleven have proved already this season that they can make top six so why not again and with competition to come one hopes . Kro

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    When we were in the top six were only four of five points from mid-table. When we went 2nd if you took two goals of our goal difference we would have been sixth

    • Dave Mann says:

      Good positive post Julian . Kro

      • Singapore Brum says:

        Dave, that is the second time in this thread where you have had a go at Julian for not being positive.

        But his comments were supported by facts Dave. I thought you liked facts? Or is that only when it suits you?

        • Dave Mann says:

          I do support facts but it’s the way he comes across with them , yes he’s correct ofcourse but I would rather look at the being 2nd in the league after 14 games and being in the top six for the majority of the season than coming across with goal difference being the difference between 2nd, 6th and 6rh with mid table .. Just look at things in reality mate and the fact we were in those positions mean we deserved to be there because of our goal difference … True ? Kro

          • StaffsBlue says:

            It’s just a shame that our goal difference then was +8, now it’s +1.. and that includes scoring 5 at Fulham.

          • bhamcityjulian says:

            What I was illustrating was that we have always been close to mid-table. Perhaps we could have consolidated a play off position if Cotterill and Donaldson hadn’t been injured. Now that they are back if that signals an acceleration in our points tally we could be saying ‘but if’.

  • Lich Blues says:

    I think I was so disappointed with yesterdays result due to seeing some really good matches away from home this season. If it was at home I probably would have expected it.

    Yesterdays result just highlighted what we already new. We obviously need more depth through the team. I don’t actually mind if it’s via initial loan signings as long as they are of good quality.

    We haven’t played well (in no small part due to injuries) for a while now so you have to hope for a minimum of four points from our next to home games to keep us in the mix.

  • Blues need around 15 points to be safe its time to stop moaning and get behind the team again , we need wins , and these players plus who comes here in the window have got to get us their , so come on .

  • StaffsBlue says:

    A good, supportive crowd tomorrow could do wonders for the team.. and could encourage any players thinking of making the move in January.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    I think these next two home games could be pivotal for the rest of the season. 6 or 4 points and we are looking at what’s going on above us in the table. Two defeats ot two draws and we are going to be worrying about what’s going on in the bottom half . We have got to beat MK Dons though Brentford are very much on form so for me that’s a must not lose game.
    We have got to play a lot of the lower placed teams away from home in the second half of the season which in theory should suit us. We also have to play most of the top clubs at home so we can play our counter-attacking style even at Stans as they will be looking for 3 points.
    As for the transfer window if we are going to get three players in I hope we can do it early and not wait until the last minute on deadline day as seems to usually happen.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      Maybe I’m a bit naive, but surely negotiations for players will have been going on for a few weeks now? If not, it could be a case of after the lord mayor’s show for us. Again.

  • Dave Mann says:

    17,000 if we’re lucky but as far as being supportive I have my doubts , it’s not a criticism just being realistic (I tend to do that a lot now) a win will brighten things up a bit but yesterday was a wake up call …. even I struggle to find positives from yesterday and Ime usually ultra positive , feeling a bit better today and it’s roll on the Dons then Brentford . Kro

    • StaffsBlue says:

      One thing that gives me hope, is that we don’t often have consecutive crap games. Maybe Hull and Wolves the exception.

      I agree with ShirleyBlue.. these next 2 games are vital. If we do poorly, we have Bournemouth to come after, then Forest and Derby away. Whatever happens against Bournemouth, 2 good home games now will improve confidence and set us up nicely for the two away games. Let’s do our bit and get behind them.

  • Texas Pete says:

    Yesterday we played a good team in the ascendency at their home ground. Consequently we lost by more than one goal. Disappointing and sickening whenever we lose but fair enough.These next two games are the last of the first half of the season and I think if we can remain at 10th we are looking good for the 2nd half to finish 10th or better. What is more and gives me hope and excitement i the small tired and injured squad is going to get $ reinforcements in Jan to improve a well organized unit. Most of all I wish for a goal scorer and goal maker because we are not scoring one more goal than our opponents which means we focus and blame our defence for the losses by one goal and very infrequently by more than one..
    3 points from the next two games please.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    I think this is the window where Rowett will be judged on his ability to bring in the decent players we need. His first window was pretty good, his second not so good, missing out on quality players.. but this is his third window and he should be positive about what we need and go out and get it. Best of luck to him.

  • Dave Mann says:

    We do our bit but everyone else who cares about the club should do there’s to and there’s many out there who do support and cheer on the team but you also get fans who just look for excuses to give them stick and find faults even when we are doing better than many of us thought , they might be right about over achieving and finishing in mid table but I doesent mean we have to accept it .. If we win these two home games and knock Bournemouth out the cup there’s still fans who will say that we’re loose to Derby and Forest and that’s there opinion ofcourse but it’s so bloody annoying . Kro

    • Singapore Brum says:

      9 points from the last 33 is relegation form and is certainly not better than most of us thought.

      Everyone seems to think we will beat MK Dons. We have lost to Rotherham, Wolves, Charlton and Huddersfield at home in recent games, so why not MK Dons?

      I really would like to think we can turn the corner here, guess I just can’t get rid of that pessimistic side to me.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    This team have proved they can match most teams in this division on their day. We just need those days to come round a bit more regularly, that’s all. I really believe that the team have missed Cotts, Clayts and Robbo more than we probably think. They’re integral parts of the system. Once they’re back in full tandem and we plug two or three holes, there’s no reason why we can’t go on another decent run.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Agreed.kro

  • bedsbluenose says:

    There will be at least 3 good players coming in this JAN window
    Loans

    unless DIMMY goes

    but very Good loans ..and they want to come to us

    Kro

  • ChrisG says:

    I’d love to see GR play Donaldson tomorrow with Vaughan in the no.10 role, i’m hopeing Robbo will be back as well cos we’ve really missed his leadership.

  • WalmleySteve says:

    We should never get too down about results and performances like yesterday. If it wasn’t for the lucky escape at Bolton and subsequent shrewd appointment of Rowett, we’d be bottom of League 1 now. We lack quality and squad depth and that’s all thanks to BIHL. And no doubt we’ll be saying exactly the same thing this time next year as the pathetic ownership saga drags on and the club continues to decay. Happy New Year everyone!

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I have a horrible feeling you could be right!

    • chris says:

      Why is it BIHL’s fault when we haven’t sold a player for over 12 months now and the club keeps every penny it earns.
      Or do you mean the owners are not subsidising the club like Derby, Middlesbrough, Brighton, Sheff Wed, Ipswich, Brentford, Forest & Reading owners or can’t compete with those with parachute payments like Burnley, Hull, Cardiff, QPR, Fulham, Blackburn, Reading again or Wolves.
      Surely the very average gates for whatever reason is an issue too, when Derby, Brighton, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wed, Forest, Wolves & Ipswich have higher gates and for every extra 1000 fans per game, these extra fans may be enough to employ another decent player on £10k to £15k a week.
      Too many fans think new owners will make a difference, but that is only true if they can increase turnover, increase gates, increase commercial income and / or invest their own money.
      There is no guarantee new owners will invest their own money and not to the tune of £2 to £3 million per season required just to increase wages to attract more quality Championship players, never mind transfer fees.

      • WalmleySteve says:

        I’m not expecting any owner to keep throwing money at the club. But if BIHL hadn’t sold the likes of Butland, Redmond and Mutch for peanuts and refused to invest the proceeds then the club wouldn’t need millions throwing at it in order to keep up with the likes of Derby. I accept the selling has stopped, but there’s no-one left to sell bar Gray.

        • bhamcityjulian says:

          That was ‘old’ BIH – the CY/Pannu run BIH. New BIH (Panos invited E&Y / TTA) have not sold assets to date and if Gray goes I expect Gary will spent it

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Rowett on BCFC.com…Asked about potential alterations to the side, Rowett responded:

    “It’s a fair assumption based on a 3-0 defeat that I will make changes. It won’t be anything to do with rotation, it won’t be anything to do with rest. It will be down to the fact we were not good enough on Boxing Day.

    “And when we have not been good enough, to that degree, then I will always try to change it. Of course the options are limited but we have got some good players ready to play.”

    Sounds like he’s lost patience with certain players. About bl00dy time too.

  • chris says:

    Pointless talking about play-offs, if it happens great but chances are it won’t.
    Fans who mention this need to get real and see the teams around us and what they are spending on players and wages.
    GR’s job for me this season is the same as Goodwin’s in 1970 and is to consolidate mid table, build a squad for a play-off push next season, build a squad that will have no emergency loan market to utilise next season and build a squad in the summer once four or five out of contract players have left and can be replaced.

    • zxcv says:

      And here we are Chris almost 46 years bloody later still trying to consolidate our position in the championship. lol

  • chris says:

    Groundhog day far to often ZXCV

  • paul whittaker says:

    we got precisely what I expected at Sheffield, and we all know if we concede first
    then the game is virtually over


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