Often Partisan

The case for the defence

This week Gary Rowett and Blues will have to confirm which of their players whose contracts expire this summer will be offered a new deal to stay at St Andrew’s beyond June 2016. Unlike the past few years, the number of players who could leave is a lot lower and subsequently, it’s probable that only one – Paul Robinson – will be offered a new deal.

Neal Eardley and Mitch Hancox are almost certain to be released while Ryan Shotton will return to Derby County following the expiry of his loan which will leave Blues with five senior professional defenders – Paul Caddis, Jonathan Spector, Michael Morrison, Paul Robinson and Jonathan Grounds. This number could be dropped even further if Blues decide that Robbo’s legs finally have caught up with him at 37.

Blues do have some players in the development squad who will be at the club next season; Josh Cogley has had his option taken up while Wes Harding and Dom Bernard will enter the second year of their two-year deals and Josh Martin will enter the second year of his three year deal. It’s also possible Emmanuel Mbende will be offered another year. However – the big question is if any of those will be ready to step up to the first team to sit on the bench in the Championship as soon as August.

Blues were in the market for a centre-back last summer but after Rob Kiernan decided to go to Rangers, Rowett decided to go with what he had for the time being and I think in the second half of the season it cost us. It’s true that Robbo has given his all – and when he is on form he can be talismanic; however, when he’s not on his game he’s truly awful and I think we’ve reached the time where he should be nothing more than 4th choice centre-back.

Likewise, I think the lack of competition for Jonathan Grounds place has meant the former Oldham left-back has remained in the squad despite turning out some fairly average performances and if Blues are to step up then they must bring in someone who can at least push Grounds to play better than he is currently.

I’d like to see Blues bring in a tall (and left-sided if at all possible) centre-back to partner Morrison and a quicker, more mobile left-back to compete with Grounds for his spot. I’ve seen some mention of Dan Burn but the truth is I’d rather look forwards than back to players we have had in before; for the same reason I think we won’t look at players like Kyle Bartley either.

I could see us testing the water with Derby over either Shotton or Jake Buxton, who has been linked with us before and who finished the season with three consecutive sub appearances but I suspect if the Rams don’t get promoted we’ll suffer the same issues as last season whereby Derby didn’t want to do business with a team they see as a potential rival.

There has been brief mention of Christian Ribeiro online too, who has played 17 times for Exeter City in League Two this season after allegedly turning us down last summer but it’s not one I could see us going for as it stands.

Whatever happens, I hope Blues are able to get their targets in quickly. I think we saw last summer what can happen if things get drawn out – it’s important that a) Blues have their target lists drawn up and b) that the money is there ready and waiting to be used. If Blues can get the jump on the league and their players in early for pre-season, then I have every hope we can push on to better things in 2017.

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53 Responses to “The case for the defence”

  • Dan Hickman says:

    If Burn came in on a permanent deal I’d be happy with that to be honest. As for Robinson, his time has come I think to hand over the baton. Rowett has said before he is a pain in the a*se when he’s not in the team, so I don’t think he is suited to being a bit part player. If Shotton comes in then great, but play him at CH. Hancock could have kept Grounds honest at least imo, but it was so obvious he wasn’t fancied that Grounds didn’t even have to look over his shoulder all season really.

  • mark says:

    if he to make any impression for 2017/18 GR will need to get off with the best possible start otherwise its a god bye from him. The last 8 games was dreadful, whether he can make further improvements we have to wait and see. Again he needs to sort out a defense that needs to may only to let in maybe 20 goals.
    He needs his strikers to hit more goals than they did last season….Gathered Bradley scored again.

    • atko says:

      To be fair, whilst you say the last 8 games were dreadful we did have the points in the bag that were needed to stay in this league. There was never any danger of us going down it was a matter of trying something new to see if we could push on and make the playoffs. As we know it didn’t work but I don’t think we will see any tinkering from the start of the season. It will be a pretty settled and organized formation again until we have the points in the bag again and hopefully can push on to improve on this season.

  • Bluenose1949 says:

    Latest news is that China are ready to accelerate football development in their country in a big way. Could we benefit in any way in playing a part of any of their plans.

    • atko says:

      Could be a bad thing if the report I saw is anything to go by. It talked about growing their game, their league, their national team. It was talking about bringing the top players from around the world to China down the line. That shows a lack of interest in football outside of China to me.

  • Bluemat says:

    My prediction is robbo will get 12 month deal and be assistant manager to Beale with the 21’s. I also think they if Derby don’t get up to the Prem then we’ll loose rowett aswel to be honest. KRO!

  • Gerard says:

    Tend to agree with Bluemat comments -said it before if we do not match GR and his ambition for the club he will do what is best for him, I was the first meeting with him when he took over, someone questioned whether he could be ruthless enough for a fairly level headed bloke? His answer was simple watch me, he simply wants to progress not stand still another season, as they say it is all in the melting pot be a lot clearer in a few weeks but whatever happens we will as supporters still be there when it matters KRO

  • mark says:

    well well David sullivan makes claims WUFC to sign a player 25 millions i wish the gold bothers would come back pls………..

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I hear they’ve sold 50,000 season tickets for next season.

      • mark says:

        sorry staffs, it pains me with the so-call haters we have at brum…….never wish ill of DS or Gold bro’s other than a big thank you…..

        • StaffsBlue says:

          I hold no grudges towards them. They were good owners in my book… and resisted the urge to splash silly money on players and bankrupt the club. I wish we had the stability we had under them these days. Yes, they took the money and ran in the end, but they would have been stupid not to. You can accuse them of a lot of things, but they ain’t stupid.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We need at least two commanding defenders, because let’s face it, the defence we have at the moment aren’t good enough to sustain a top 6 challenge and that includes Morrison. We need a full back who’s not afraid to cross the halfway line and get in a cross, but is also alert enough to be able to cut out crosses.. and a centre back who can command the defence and with a captain’s attitude like Robinson. His legs might be going now, but you can still see the influence Robbo has when he’s on the pitch, it stands out a mile.

    Those two players might not come cheap, but without them, we’ll continue to ship unecessary goals.

    • atko says:

      Agree with the at least bit. Dan spoke in his article about the youth players but there is no way they will take part next season otherwise GR would have checked them out in the last couple of games of this season in my opinion when there was nothing to play for. Pre season games are not the kind of game to check players out in, they are no better than development games and once the season is underway we need to bit the round running. I see new defenders coming in but lets hope it is sooner rather than later. Leave the strikers until last minute, get the defence sorted first so they can gel from the off, clean sheets are more important than goals at the start of a new season.

    • Andrew says:

      Keep saying how badly blues need defenders, I give Gary bad press because of this flaw in his capabilities. He’s consistently looked the other way hoping the defence will improve, without new recruits to it we will continue to lose games we should get something from. It’s blues biggest weakness. I thought when he came in from being a defender himself he might sort it out but he’s had 2 transfer windows to do so and although it’s not without trying he’s failed in my eyes. Just hope now he changes it in the summer.

  • Andy says:

    I think we need at least 2 newbies and promotion to the first team squad of Wes harding to push Caddis at right back, i would take Shotton now to replace the outgoing Robbo, i would sign a left sided centre half come full back to challenge Grounds, considering Spector can play right back, centre back and in a sitting midfield role i think there is less of a need to replace Eardley who i think will be on his bike. Heard Liverpool have released Jose Enrique.. think he would be class in the championship and a step up on Grounds.. probably struggle to meet his demands but he is the type of calibre player we require and hopefully will be targeting..plenty of experience to boot..

  • Tony says:

    Others have mentioned Matt Smith of Fulham, I think he would be a great signing.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      With two new decent defenders, someone like Tomlin or Tesche in midfield and Smith up front, I think I’d be confident of a better season than last.

  • Andy says:

    Yeah i like Matt Smith a no nonsense old fashioned centre forward type… he has struggled to hold down a first team place at Fulham and Leeds so question marks over him but if we could do it i would take him, did well for Bristol City in League 1 promo season.. I think we need 5 new faces in all and 1 would be a striker

    • StaffsBlue says:

      The trouble with today’s football, is that players like Smith, Crouch, Gestede etc are becoming old-fashioned, which means that teams don’t play to their strengths. I’ve seen all those three players, plus the likes of Andy Carroll destroy teams when they get a decent service. For me, there will always be a place for that type of player… but not all managers agree. Sadly.

    • Richard Granfield says:

      Andy……I rate Matt Smith too. But in Ross McCormack and Mousa Dembele Fulham have 2 of the best strikers in the division so it’s difficult for him.

  • Mike says:

    It would be nice to get players in early but Gary will have specific targets and will wait to bring them in if he has to. This is what happened last season he had specific targets for midfield and decided to wait but he had back up players which he brought in very quickly when the deals didn’t happen. I think Grounds had a decent season but we do need to bring in somebody to give him competition.

  • ZR says:

    if rowett gets three million to spend then hes done well.

  • Matt says:

    I don’t get why people want old players to return, Dan Burn was average look at how many goals Fulham have conceded this season! The only players I’d like to return is Shotton & Toral

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Gary is certainly looking at the full back position. There cannot be a greater contrast between the two present occupiers. Caddis short, likes to get forward, good crosser, poor defensively, weak in the air. Grounds, tall, doesn’t get forward, doesn’t get crosses in, sound defensively and good in the air.
    Ideally Gary should follow the example of the Spurs full backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose. Both of whom are nailed on to be in Hodgson’s Euro squad. They both play wide so Spurs don’t need conventional wingers and allow Spurs to play an extra man in midfield and dominate possession.
    Obviously we cannot afford the likes of Walker and Rose, but to get two fullbacks in concert who both get forward and supply crosses would help our shape and goal threat.

    • mark says:

      but in lower leagues you might find these type players in the same style….i find it difficult to understand why… players cannot cross a ball or even pass it what hell do they do at these training fields….lol

      • AdamTrueBlue says:

        Different pressure doing it on a training ground or doing it on match day, this is what diveides the men from the boys or premier players from the rest. Kro

  • Richard Granfield says:

    See that the inevitable has occurred i.e. Mitch Hancox has been released.
    Mitch is the quintessential Blue Nose. I wish him well for the future and thank him for the past.

  • Dave Mann says:

    If grounds is preferred instead then I couldn’t agree more .KRO

    • StaffsBlue says:

      In all honesty Carr and Murphy have never been adequately replaced. Until they have been, all we can expect is more of the same next season.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    Just a point on the new Adidas kit. Tatts says he has seen it, but it won’t be unveiled until late June.
    Why?
    Cardiff and Liverpool amongst others have already shown off their new kits.
    After last season’s cock up with Carbrini the sooner the new kit is available the better.

    • bhamcityjulian says:

      It’s being unveiled earlier but they doesnt mean it’ll be available sooner than last season

  • DaveP says:

    Read on bcfc.com Gary Rowett saying that, in contrast to last season, he’s now looking at players he can bring in to challenge for promotion next season.Imperative we get in for players early to stop being gazzumped, unless the agents have their way and go for the big cash-money bonuses

    • atko says:

      Pre seasons like this one are a pain in the Ass for managers I am sure. When you have a major international tournament going on in the summer then managers tend to wait and see what is on offer out there. Even if you’re a manager that doesn’t want to wait you may be given no choice if clubs don’t want to release players until they have a replacement and DO want to hang on. Sometimes you can’t win, sometimes the Euro’s and World Cup years are a pain!

  • peter bates says:

    Peter pannu deal done with Ernst and young great news kro

  • Fantastic news PB , perhaps Bolton left back Jose Casada Bizcocho 29 ,…or Reece James at left back 22 at Wigan , I think shotton will get the centre back role , for the defence

  • Talking about the case for the defence well done earnst & young ,

  • AdamTrueBlue says:

    On a different subject., have too admit I am sĺightly jelous of the support and atmosphere at Upton Park tonight and they have sold out of 52000 season tickets, Blues fans its time to stand up and be counted. Kro

    • bhamcityjulian says:

      These are Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea fans who cant get or afford tickets for their clubs and Southend fans who can see Prem football for the same price (for the moment)

  • ianfg says:

    Ben Turner for left sided centre back and a bluenose as well !

  • peter bates says:

    Wasn’t it the council in Birmingham who refused Sullivan and gold from building a new stadium for bcfc the same council who wouldn’t let a parade in the city when we won the carling cup I hope they hang there heads in shame but they won’t they have no conscience kro

  • bhamcityjulian says:

    Respect shown by Gary to Mitch by announcing this decision separately to others. We have a classy manager

  • bhamcityjulian says:

    Not that the Pannu deal has been done is the relisting the next step or the EGM?

    I’m confused about the shareholding after the restructure. Will the restructure dilute the current BIH shares so that have less ‘power’ afterwards or do the deals have agreement to sell? What about the convertable share?


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