Often Partisan

Returning from Injury

Blues have announced at the press conference held at the Wast Hills training ground yesterday that several players are coming into contention for places in the team after injury. It’s good news for Blues bearing in mind how stripped down the team has been at some times, but should they just be thrown back in?

Nikola Zigic, who received a whack to the knee from Jay Tabb in the match against Reading is definitely fit to play as is Guirane N’Daw who was just returning from injury in that game. Jonathan Spector is close to a comeback from a thigh injury and Irishmen Keith Fahey and Stephen Carr are a little further away but are possibles for the return leg.

It means a happy selection dilemma for Chris Hughton, who named a bench consisting of Jack Butland, winger Chris Burke and strikers Marlon King, Erik Huseklepp and Adam Rooney for the visit of the Royals. Whilst it’s fun to have a bench that screams of attacking options it wouldn’t have been too clever had we had an injury at the back and I’m sure Hughton will be mindful of how short things are in defence.

In saying that, Blues haven’t done badly recently; unbeaten in nine (four wins and five draws) and in excellent form for the playoffs. Goals haven’t been a problem in that time either, with Blues racking up nineteen goals in those games but conversely the game against Reading was the first clean sheet that they’d kept in ten games. It’s another pointer that whilst the team have played well mistakes have crept in at times and you have to wonder about mental tiredness for a team playing their sixty-first game on Friday.

The big question I guess will be if Hughton will go with a straight 4-4-2 away from home, or if he’ll play a little more cautiously with one off the front men and two sitting midfielders as he has done away from home at times. In either scenario I’d be looking at Jordon Mutch and Morgaro Gomis in the middle personally; they’re our two fittest, most in-form central midfielders and I think they could handle the job in either situation. I have no doubt Chris Burke will line up on the right and one of Wade Elliott and Andros Townsend on the left, depending on how much defensive solidity Hughton wants. Marlon King will start up front – of that I have no doubt but the question is who will partner him. Ziggy is fit but has been in and out recently formwise; Huseklepp has looked somewhat off the pace and Rooney doesn’t have much match practice – although he did impress a lot in his seventy minutes against Reading. The other option would be Nathan Redmond off Marlon King, a position he revelled in against Reading and one that he showed he could make his own.

With all this in mind there doesn’t seem much point in rushing back Keith Fahey or throwing Guirane N’Daw in the mix again, and I suspect we’ll see N’Daw on the bench unless Keith is fit.

I’d also be loath to throw in Jonathan Spector right now; despite the goals that have been conceded the backline have played fairly well and I think it’s important to let them gel further. Spector has a lot of versatility though and I think would be a huge asset on the bench – not only could he cover right back and central midfield but I think he would do a job at left back or centre back if called upon and I think it’s vital we get the American back into the squad as soon as we can.

Performance-wise the team do seem to have peaked at the right point of the season and it would be great if we got the majority of the squad fit and ready for these games. Hearing positive injury news has made me more optimistic for the upcoming home-and-away decider against Blackpool and I have the feeling we can do it. I hope the team can repay this faith.

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15 Responses to “Returning from Injury”

  • Jord says:

    . I have no doubt Chris Burke will line up on the left and one of Wade Elliott and Andros Townsend on the left,

    Bit one sided there mayor.

  • Gianni says:

    I’m sure it’s a type-o, but Burke has to start on the right?

  • Graham Woodward says:

    King up front with Redmond just off him, the lanky Serb on the bench.

  • Mark Peacock says:

    Good news to see the players coming back. I would be tempted to play N’Daw ahead of Gomis personally as I am not not his biggest fan but that’s just a personal choice.

    Let’s hope we have peaked at the right time and we can get back up but CH has worked wonders at blues and you can’t blame other clubs at lookig at him.

    However I am sure Burke can’t play on the left with either Townsend or Elliot? lol

  • Agent McLeish says:

    Zigic seems to relish the big games, if motivated he can be unplayable.

  • Wingman Blue says:

    Nathan off Marlon. Zigic on the bench. Townsend, Mutch, Gomis, Burke. Defence as per Reading with Spector on the bench. 50/50 about Fahey or N’Daw also on the bench. Should be an interesting game…

  • Euston 9.18 says:

    ALMAJIR.

    Just read the “Blackpool Gazette” & they quote CHRIS HUGHTON ………..

    “There are a lot of people at this club who work very hard & I think this club is run very well.Any issues we have at the moment will be cleared very soon.”

    I haven’t read this quote anywhere else.

    Just wondering if there’s any truth in this statement.The “this club is run very well & issues will be cleared very soon” confuses me,does this mean we might be getting some GOOD NEWS from Hong Kong for once ??

    K`R`O.

  • chris says:

    EUSTON
    it was in the evening mail
    as far as i am concerned, it tells me he is not concerned at the accounts situation and he believes it wiil be sorted very soon.
    i think it will be sorted once we know which division we are in.
    i don’t believe blues will go into admin, but the holding company may do so once the aacounts are released which could drop us into the same position as southampton two years ago where they were docked 10 points, because their owners were in admin.
    i think they have delayed them to avoid us getting a 10 point deduction while we still had a chance of going up.
    see newsnow:
    Birmingham City: Chris Hughton focused on play-offs, not finances or the future Birmingham Mail 09:16 Mon, 30 Apr 2012

  • John says:

    I have a feeling the accounts will be published this month and it won’t be as bad as the press are making out. Whatever team Chris Hughton puts out,will be refreshed,because this is the longest we have had, between games, for the last 6 months. Confidence must be high after the scintilating performance,against Reading and although it won’t be easy,i think we will be on our way to Wembley. KRO

  • Ken Cud says:

    The accounts more than likely will be published once we know what league we are in next season.

    The chances are that if we don’t get to the premiership, Carson will have to sell. If we do go up, they will carry on. Chris Hughton probably knows this is what it all depends on and that is why all efforts are concentrated on this.

    Pannu has kept Hughton in the loop and may even have stated how much would be available if we went up, to spend on the team. It would have been in his own interests to do so.

    Think that one day not too distant, we will all wake up and read that the accounts have suddenly been published and they are not AS bad as had been predicted in some quarters.

    We will tonk Blackpool both home and way regardless of the team we put out.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    Great news about the injuries. The players playing at moment have done us proud and haven’t let us down. Ramage or Spector? I prefer Spector myself. Still worry about Pablo who is definitely the weak link at the back. CH needs to carry on playing NR in the hole. We have great Wingers in Townsend and Burke. In Spector and Murphy excellent overlapping full backs. A energetic and dominant mid of Gomis and Mutch complimented by a pacy strikeforce of King and Redmond. There is a good balance about this side and I am confident if we play how we can we can beat any of our playoff rivals.

  • bluenose08 says:

    I agree with jazzy except for one thing i think ramage is the weakest link due to his lack of pace and i think blacpool will try and exploit this so we may need gomis in to help ramage out. pablo is like curtis and doesnt rely on pace but being able to read the game and make timely interceptions.
    k.r.o.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I agree with you that Ramage lacks pace and that will be exploited by Blackpool and you may be right saying he may be the weak link in the defence. Recently he has been playing very well and linking up nicely with Burke. He wont let us down but its no coincidence since Spector has been out we’ve struggled to keep clean sheets. This is because our CBs are being pulled out of position to compensate for Ramages lack of pace. Ibanez seems to make a serious mistake every game. I’m not sure if this is because of his lack of games. Curtis is nothing like Pablo – he has the pace to get himself out of trouble. Where Pablo will probably give away a free kick for pulling on an opponents shirt. Now Caldwell is a defender without pace with superb positional sense.


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