Often Partisan

Speculation

It’s getting to the time of year when the transfer window is almost upon us, and I thought I’d take a look at our squad, to see if I could maybe predict some of who might be coming and going.

Garry o’Connor is the obvious person to look at. Having signed a six month deal back in July, he will be out of contract in January and I think the likelihood of it being extended to the end of the season is slim. Whilst I think Garry can finish, I think he’s in a situation like his namesake Gary McSheffrey in that his confidence is completely shot and now the crowd are so on his back he can’t get it back. As a finisher, o’Connor is one of the better players at the club but his fitness and pace are poor, and I think it’s fair to say McLeish is now looking to take us to a level above that of just physical presence; I think AM is demanding some skill, verve and flair from his players and those that can’t move up a gear will fall to the wayside.

I’ve heard from within the club that Robin Shroot has settled well at Cheltenham, and that his loan is likely to be extended to the end of the season. Blues do have an option of a further year on his contract, but bearing in mind Robin’s age (22) and the new quota for homegrown players, I cannot see him being kept on for next season. I think we’ve seen the last of young Mr Shroot, and it’s a little bit of a shame that he never really got a chance to make it with us. Luke Hubbins and Jake Jervis are both going to return to us in January from Notts County, but I expect for both to be shipped out at the end of the season. Jay o’Shea’s loan at Stevenage is due to end at the end of November, and I’m not sure if league rules preclude it from being extended further; if they don’t, I expect he’ll stay there for the time being. Again, I can’t see young o’Shea making another appearance in a Blues shirt.

Jordon Mutch is on loan at Watford until January, and I think it’s come to a key time in his career as to what happens next. I think he could do with being back at St Andrews to push for a first team place, especially as we have seven slots on the bench but I think he will remain out at Vicarage Road to complete the season there. Jordon only turns 19 in December, and I guess he’s still got a little time to push into the first team.

Marcus Bent’s loan at Wolves is due to end on 4th January, and I have no idea at all what will happen there. Bent seems to be persona non grata at Blues, and he’s not done anything of note at Wolves either. I think if he is returned, he’ll be farmed out on loan somewhere else, if not released by mutual consent. I of course could be way off the mark, but I’ve not seen anything to suggest Marcus is going to extend his Blues career at all.

January is a difficult time to sign players, but I expect AM to at least try and sign a new striker; rumours have been abound that it will be Jay Bothroyd but I really can’t see that myself. I’d love us to take a look at Roque Santa Cruz, but I fear his price and wages may be beyond our reach; I think it’s entirely possible we’ll look down the loan route – but I’m not entirely sure who we could sign. I think things will become clearer as we progress into December, but I’m not expecting anything as dramatic as the deadline day capture of Hleb, Beausejour and Jiranek.

I think we’ll also probably look at more cover at full back; Parnaby seems to have a bit of an injury jinx and Murphy isn’t my ideal choice at left back either. I hope we’re looking at someone like Nathaniel Clyne, but I’d be happy if we signed someone else if they had some potential to grow into the position in the way Roger Johnson and Scott Dann have at centre back.

It’s still eight weeks until the window, and it’s still all speculation at the moment. Still, I hope Blues are making plans now as the quicker things are done, the better.

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