Often Partisan

Squad Analysis 2012 pt II

Eighteen days ago I posted this article looking at where Blues stood with their squad in an attempt to try to work out where they need to strengthen first. With the recent flurry of activity in the transfer market and the squad for the Austria trip being announced, I thought it might be worthwhile looking again to see what has changed.

The 22 man squad for the trip to Austria is named thusly: Colin Doyle, David Lucas, Stephen Carr, David Murphy, Curtis Davies, Steven Caldwell, Pablo Ibanez, Jack Deaman, Will Packwood, Mitch Hancox, Chris Burke, Morgaro Gomis, Nathan Redmond, Jonathan Spector, Wade Elliott, Hayden Mullins, Darren Ambrose, Peter Lovenkrands, Marlon King, Nikola Zigic, Adam Rooney and Akwasi Asante.

It’s been mentioned that it’s Lee Clark’s intention to play a differing team in each half against Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday, and with this in mind I’ve tried to arrange the 22 players into two distinct elevens. Now, obviously this isn’t necessarily the way Lee Clark will do it but it’s what I think is possible based on the players we have and the formations that I’ve seen us play.

That gives us:

Doyle

Carr Davies Caldwell Murphy

Burke Gomis Ambrose Redmond

King Rooney

and

Lucas

Spector Deaman Ibanez Hancox

Packwood Mullins

Asante Elliott Lovenkrands

Zigic

Now bearing in mind three senior players won’t be out in Austria – Keith Fahey and Jake Jervis are both injured and Jack Butland is with the Team GB Olympic Squad – the team to me still looks somewhat lopsided. As much as I’m a personal fan of young Mitch Hancox it’s a big ask for him to step up to the first team should there be a major injury to David Murphy and thus I think it’s imperative Blues sort out a left back post-haste. Blues have had Lee Naylor on trial for the past week but for whatever reason have decided to leave him behind (along with fellow trialists Darren Carter and Scott Robertson). I don’t think it necessarily means that we won’t be taking Naylor on but I do think Blues have to work out quickly how they’re going to deal with that problem position – whether it be the former Celtic full back or someone else.

I think Blues also look a little light in the centre of defence; again, one injury to Davies/Caldwell/Ibanez and we’re down to rookies of the likes of Deaman or Packwood (or Fraser Kerr who isn’t on this trip either) to cover. Now it might be that Blues again go down the same path as last season and bring in a defender who can cover across the backline like Peter Ramage (and in honesty I’d look at bringing in Ramage permanently as he is a free agent at present) but again, I’m of the thought that this is a problem Blues need to sort out fairly quickly.

As daft as it sounds, I’m not sure the left midfield problem is as much of an issue now. Whilst Blues don’t have an out-and-out left winger in the mould of a Jean Beausejour, we do have several players (Lovenkrands, Elliott, Redmond and even Fahey at a push) who can play in that position. There is also the possibility that Blues might move to more of a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation whereby we wouldn’t need a left winger at all but more of a left forward – something Lovenkrands and Redmond I think could do admirably.

I think Blues are almost at the point of having a complete squad; there are currently nineteen senior pros and then a sprinkling of youngsters who are on the fringe of the first team. If Lee Clark can pull in say another two or three players – especially in the key positions we seem to be lacking then I don’t see why we can’t have a very successful season in the Championship. My positive hat is well and truly on.

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69 Responses to “Squad Analysis 2012 pt II”

  • mattbcfc says:

    Kings going to be very busy in the 1st half

  • Macauley price says:

    I think lee Clark will play a few youth in 1st half then the other few youth in 2nd as cant see him using all youth in one half ! But in LEE CLARK WE TRUST!

  • Colin Townsend says:

    Mich Hancox is a great addition , Belive me this kid will go far !!!

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    IF we keep what we’ve got plus a few additions I’ll be happy also. Let’s see what happens in the next few weeks re exits.

    • nicky wicky says:

      did you not read LC comments in the mail yesterday? he saidhe had spoken to every player, and every one was happy and no-one wanted to leave. he said said if the worse case scenario happens and someone should leave it will be for a crazy fee!

      • Flying Doctor says:

        Players may say they don’t want to leave, but if the right club comes in and they want to go, then they go,and in that scenario we might not necessarily receive an “eyepopping” fee.

        • nicky wicky says:

          I’m sure that LC is pretty au fait with the players and finaces at blues. PP always plays his cards pretty close to his chest and i wouldn’t beleive most of the stories you read in the tabloids. Why are blues fans so negative? West ham spent £15 million last year getting promotion. PP has already said that blues made a substantial profit. that is probably because blues did better than expected in the europa league, you get get prize money for every point you accumulate,tv,advertising,and gate receipts,and they got to play chelsea twice in the fa cup and tv money, advertising for getting in the play offs. They sold mutch and foster and have compo from hughton going so they have a bit of a war chest,and don’t need to sell anymore players. they’ve already turned down a bid of £7 million for butland. I would rather beleive the words of the blues manager and board than the rubbish that is in the tabloids. after all they still rate birmingham as a portsmouth,and last year said we were heading for admin,but it never happened quite the opposite!

          • Flying Doctor says:

            Missing the point Nicky. The only paper I’ve read is the Mail. Same as you. That’s where LC’s quotes came from. We maybe in position where no more players have to be sold,(though does anyone know for certain?) but it doesn’t mean that will happen. Just wouldn’t take every quote at face value. That doesn’t mean that anyone is lying, it means sometimes circumstances are beyond their control. There is still a long way to go in the transfer window.

      • BhamCityJulian says:

        Davies might not be itching to move (which is where the LC comment has come from) but once he’s aware of keen interest from the Prem who knows.

      • daddyblue says:

        He also said that he had not finished in the transfer window plus he has loan signings as well imho we will make one big signing of 1 or even 2 million plus another 4 players and if we sell anyone then if it’s silly money we may buy to replace him. Feeling much more upbeat as you can see Kro4ever

      • Flying Doctor says:

        Whilst we have had a good week, the club still has an uncertain future and is therefore vulnerable.
        Would take both LC & PP’s comments with a pinch of salt. They could have been easily turned around by circumstances beyond their control. 1st Sept. is the time for a decent assessment of season prospects.

        • nicky wicky says:

          Flying Doctor why are you so negative? have you been reading the tabloids? Look at the facts since the embargo was lifted and PP made his statement. get your brain in gear and look at what has really happened. if they had been lying they wouldn’t have been able to make all these signings, and more players would have gone by now. The premier League has just got richer and maybe Norwich will come in and offer £15million for Davies,butfrom what i have seen most of it has been true. Zigic is still at the club so how canthey keephim if he’s on big money, so maybe thats not true either? They certainly don’t seem in any hurry to get rid of him! Why don’t you getbehind the team, go to matches etc, else they’ll have no chioce but to sell someone. I genuinely think this year they are trying to build a team to challenge for the top 3 spots.

      • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

        I don’t read that shite,

        Funny how you believe that rags story cos it says what you want to hear but you drone on repeatedly about newspapers bullshi**ing every time a story about a Blues player appears?

        My opinion is some will be leaving before the transfer window shuts.

        • nicky wicky says:

          i can tell by your negative comments. your fears don’t match the facts. someone might leave,but it will be for a big fee!

          • James Black says:

            The situation has been clearly stated. If an eye popping figure is offered then it may be accepted. Other than that nobody is going anywhere. If a less than eye popping figure was offered for Ziggy then im sure it would be accepted as he is a large expense. The position has been clearly stated but no doubt if say Curtis went for 10 million some would make something of that and say that they said they wasnt selling. No they are not selling but will accept a fee that makes a huge difference to the club as a whole and that would be right. Still not long ago some was banging on that the board was pocketing cash and that they don’t care and Lee Clarke isnt good enough. At least now the majority believe and the negos are now purely for amusement. I will never forget some of the pathetic statements made on this site by far too many. Fickle and negative. being negative gives you cancer you know. But some even if they go to heaven would complain that the coffee is not up to it.

  • nicky wicky says:

    I think i have to agree with colin towsend. blues academy is one of the best for churning out talent. can’t expect the kids to play every game but as a one off i’m sure they wouldn’t let the club down. look at Nathan redmond,and now butland!

    • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

      One of the best?

      You kidding?

      • nicky wicky says:

        are you a villa fan paul?

        • Colin Townsend says:

          Terry westley put together a group of lads which he thought would make it into or around the first team these boys have now started to come through, the academy works , and for the first time will start paying its way ,jack ,Nathan ,mutch now Hancox !!!!!

          • Pete says:

            Great point about Westley- so why on earth did we get rid of him! For me he was the best recruitment we made at this club in years, and we scrapped him- having got Mutch, Redmond and Butland through….

          • jay says:

            I dont think we have lost much in losing westley, I have a lot of involvement with the youth teams at wast hill and the reason we have done more in the past few years is not down to westley but more down to a bigger focus on the academy. I personally think the Academy staff we have in at the moment are the best we have had in a long time, i am now seeing talented 14-15 year olds playing at the club who in a few years could be making the grade. Granted at that age they are a long way off but its something i have not seen at wast hills in a long time. before; with the exception of a few, the emphasis was on power and pace in the players we produced which in the end resulted in players who just didnt have the technical ability to make the step up. I believe we are now heading in the right direction and if we keep it up the future could be very bright.

      • James Black says:

        Paul, the Blues academy is a very good academy and has been for some time. May i ask on what basis do you feel it is not. be good to know your reasoning for saying that.

        • Paul Carter - TVOR says:

          First hand knowledge for one as a family member left cos it was so crap

          Output being the other

          Buying their own kit was a step too far for some parets but course you and Nicky no best.

          • jaybcfc says:

            Paul my brother has been at the academy for 7 years now since he was 7 he has never been asked to buy anything for it. i believe maybe this family member just wasnt good enough and then the excuses come out. all kit has always been provided even last year when xtep decided to deliver the kit months late to the youth squad they played in the old kit.

          • James Black says:

            Ok Paul watching this space so to speak

  • andy says:

    Im in total agreement with the left back cover,im wondering if thats one of the reasons Mullins was signed, he covers that position doesnt he? Its seriously an area that cost us whilst Murphy was out injured but Lee Naylor has had a trial, a natural left back, so im sure Lee Clark is looking to bring someone in.

    • nicky wicky says:

      he probably will andy but mitch hancox is perfectly capable of filling in in an emeregncy. Darren Carter came through blues academy too didn’t he?I wouldn’t be surprised if he gave at least Naylor and Carter a contract as Carter plays in the same position as Fahey and is a good footballer and true blue!

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Ramage’s non return could be because he was guaranteed first team football probably at centre half or he hasnt been approached. I certainly saw nothing in him at right back that suggested I have him as a first choice centre half.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    Ramage’s non return could be because he wasn’t guaranteed first team football probably at centre half or just that he hasn’t been approached. I certainly saw nothing in him at right back that suggested I would want him as a first choice centre half.

  • BhamCityJulian says:

    The first XI looks like its shaping up as:

    Butland

    Carr Davies Caldwell Murphy

    Mullins

    Burke Fahey Lovekrands

    Ambrose

    King

    • alexjhurley says:

      Lovenkrands won’t play wide left, he hates it. He’s a striker, that’s where hell be used.

    • nicky wicky says:

      I don’t think LC has bought Lovenkrands to play on the left. He has bought him because he has got a goal ratio of a goal every 2 games like King so he may play two strikers, with Zigic as an option to bring off the bench because he wants to increase blues strike rate. You will also find with butland in goal we lose less away games and concede less goals away than we did last year with blunders Myhill!

      • RichardM says:

        What are you – the Colin Doyle fan club??? Absolute B*LLOCKS trying to blame Myhill for the away points dropped last year – clear you didn’t go to many of the games

        • nick wicky says:

          I went to all the home games richard and i watched the highlights of the away matches on tv and there was regularly at least one mistake that myhill made to cost the team points. Doyle can be a better goalie. myhill went through spells where he would play well then he would start making mistakes like david james. lets face it if he’s so good why are albion trying to get rid of him and have spent a load of money on foster? you got a thing for average keepers?you probably liked maik taylor too!

          • Pete says:

            Not saying Myhill is best keeper in the world- but he saved us a number of points last season. Doyle also had plenty of errors. You have said in the past Doyle would have benefited from more coaching from Watson- how much longer than 4 years do you want?!?!!?

  • alexjhurley says:

    On paper we are better now than we were at the end of last season, and I expect us to sign 2 more players (left back and a centre mid). Let’s hope Clark is as good as we all hope. I seem to recall c.h. being given the target of a top 6 finish, so with a better and more settled squad and no Europe its not unreasonable to think l.c. should be achieving the same – tough as it will be……

    • nicky wicky says:

      alex from the look of the team that LC is building i would say that PP is looking for a top 3 finish this year. They say west ham spent £15million geting promotion last year,and i reckon blues squad is better than that west ham team,but we just need to improve our away record.last season blues had the best home record in the championship,even better than southampton. They are strengthening the squad,and with no europe there is less chance of picking up injuries and getting fatigue!

  • alexjhurley says:

    Please stop getting carried away about our academy. In the last fifteen years its produced only 1 player who’s gone on to better than what we’ve currently got – a.j.

    Butland and Redmond have a good chance of adding to that list but until they do certain people on here need to calm down a bit (although don’t get me wrong I hope they are proved right and things are going in the right direction academy wise)

    • nicky wicky says:

      wrong alex its produced quite a few players,but the previous owners used to sell them on after they’d played only a few games. e.g.Carter,Kilkenny,AJ,and there are more but i can’t think of their names off hand!

      • Dave Bellamy says:

        Sone Aluko ? Released without much of a go at Blues (after one of our promotions?)
        Did alright at Rangers – [ available on a free too at the moment ]

        • alexjhurley says:

          Aluko? Is that the best we can manage? I’ll lend you me trowel to help you scrape the barrel….

      • alexjhurley says:

        I’m not accepting carter or Kilkenny ! Neither are good enough for our current squad. A high quality youth set up produces players who either become first team regulars or go on to perform at a higher level. Our academy production line doesn’t meet this criteria, its not even close. I’m not saying the current crop won’t change this, the signs are good with butland and Redmond. All I’m saying is that until these players prove themselves we shouldn’t get too carried away with claims I e seen on here about how wonderful our academy is.

        • nick wicky says:

          alex i’m sorry but messi can’t come this year. Carter is a good Championship defensive midfielder at least he has already proven that before under bruce. Kilkenny is a good passer of the ball and now hes playing for cardiff

  • nicky wicky says:

    flyindoc LC never said never and i never said there wouldn’t be othersleaving,but he said if it happened it would be for a big fee! They seem to be keeping their word so far and are planning more signings so they must be confident they have funds?

    • Flying Doctor says:

      Let’s hope you’re right Nicky

      • nicky wicky says:

        doc you may have thought the europa league a distraction last year,but it brings in a lot of revenue for those who take part. it may not pay as much as the champions league but i bet a lot of the other championship clubs would have liked to have been in it,and i’m surprised that most of the english clubs don’t take it seriously. I’m sure blues got a tidy sum for accumalating 10pts, and playing chelsea twice in the fa cup!

        • Flying Doctor says:

          The amount of revenue the club accrues is not the point, As a championship club with an uncertain future leaves us vulnerable. If a Prem club comes in with a definate offer and the player wants to go then it doesn’t matter how much is in the bank.

  • KeeprightCroydON says:

    Hi alexhurley
    I agree with you. We don’t have the best academy. Smaller clubs like Palace and Crewe churn out more players who make the grade. That’s how they survive, generating income by selling them on.
    But.my observation is that our current batch is the best in recent years. If you include Muctch we already two who’ve made the step up and only a matter of time will be three when Butland steps up. In recent times we’ve only had the odd one; Johnson and Carter who’ve come through our ranks tho there’ve been a few who’ve left to establish themselves with other clubs – Aluko being one, there was another guy who did well at Hull whose nane eludes me.
    The last time we’ve had so many come through our ranks was in the late 70s – Broadhurst, Dillon, Dennis, Rathbone & Van den Hauwe to name a few.

    • KeeprightCroydON says:

      Should add that a poss factor in our youngsters not making the grade in recent years was the reluctance of Bruce and McLeish to take a punt with them – both cautious by nature and had a tendency to play it safe.
      Nice article in today’s Observer about Butland. Next Fri GB team live on BBC1 v Brazil @ 7.45 – chance to get a good look at Butland.

      • Euston 9.18 says:

        Correct “KEEPRIGHTONCROYDON”

        When we went up to the Prem.

        Bruce sold A`J to Palace with Morrison coming the other way.

        Bruce reportedly said “A`J WOULD NEVER BE A PREM CENTER FORWARD”

        Just shows !!

      • Oldbluenose says:

        kro,Croyden. methinks that you are correct re;, Bruce and McCleish,

        It takes a good few years for a youngster to progress through the Academy, [ assuming they are good enough ], So,!!. with little interest in that side of things, Our former managers did little to encourage or Foster, that side of things,!!.

        As said in an earlier post, — Sonni Aluko, [ who is now a free agent ], Was one that slipped through the net,!!.

        With Mutch, Redmond and Butland, making that breakthrough, hopefully it will not be too long before a few others emerge also,!!.

        BUT WE MUST NOT PUT TO MUCH PRESSURE ON THEM UNTIL THEY ARE READY,!!!.

      • Blueboy 88 says:

        I am nervous for Butland already…so much hype..& a Nation expects ……

        This literally could make or break him confidence wise..

        • James Black says:

          I share your sentiments blueboy but if he is to make it as a top class international he has to learn to deal with it. He seems very grounded to me and i think that will keep him in good sted.

  • oldburyblue says:

    I look forward to the new U21 League next year so that we can see just how good our “kids” are doing. I have really missed watching The Reserves at Solihull & St Andrews. Its a good job that I’m not a betting man because I would’ve lost a fortune over the years if I’d put money on what I considered “absolute certainties” to become stars for us or other teams who have disappeared without trace.

  • james says:

    I agree with you Blueboy, at 19 he’s no where near the finished the article.

    From a blues fans point of view what would you want? If he plays wells, we will sell him for the eye popping fee – say around 8-10 mill. If he drops a few clangers, he’ll drop off the radar and he’ll be our no.1 keeper.

    Either way the squad as it stands looks good on paper; I’d settle for another crack at the play offs.

    KRO

    • nick wicky says:

      another confident comment from a blues fan. i wouldn’t call £10million eye-popping. maybe they might keep him a few years till he’s more experienced bafore they sell him? Blues are trying to get promoted back to the premier james they’re not just trying to stand still!

  • ryley says:

    hopefully all the new players (up to now) bond well in pre-season ,and come the start of the season we can show the rest of the league what we are about . Lets keep st andrews a fortress again . come on you blue boys make us proud.

  • J.jennings says:

    I would like to think that we will get Afobe as cover, he plays along side Redmond in the England set up, so this can only be a good thing IMO,
    It’s nice to be able to discuss amongst ourselves who we would like to sign for a change lol KRO

  • Pete says:

    Problem with accademy set up is we have scrapped it, brought it back, cut costs here, renewed it, etc. It is never being allowed time to work as a conveyor belt.

  • jazzzy786 says:

    I;d like to see the following team

    Butland

    Carr Davies Caldwell Murphy

    Burke Mullins Ambrose Lovenkrands

    ———-Redmond

    ———-King

    I’ve read in one of the comments above that Lovenkrands hates playing on the left but I think he’s more suited to the position than NR. With Burke, Ambrose and Lovenkrands in midfield we potentially have loads of goals. I’m not too keen on Ramage like some on here are. I thought he was slow and clumsy and with Carr and Spector fit do we even need him. Also Mullins has played at RB for Pompey. We desperately need cover for Murphy though it would be nice to see young Hancox break into the first team. A player I wouldn’t mind having back on loan is Andros Townsend. I thought he was quality. Overall I think we actually look stronger this year. I’m not too sure about the goalkeeping situation I personally thought Myhill did very well last year after starting shakily. Doyle also performed great when called upon. Both keepers dropped clangers a few times too. I’d say they were both about even.

    • Dan H says:

      Blues should look to sign someone like Danny Higginbottom from Stoke he can cover Centre Back and Left Back – good pro and Free Transfer

    • Bumpyfunk says:

      Andros was class going forward. Awful tracking back. Cost us 5 goals in as many games last season. Big conversations with the bloke next to my seat about it regularly.

  • Bumpyfunk says:

    Not this subject, but just read a thing about Foday Nabay on the Daily Mail site. Never heard of him, as he is only 13, but apparently he is amazing and he is from our academy. We have severed ties with him, allowing big clubs to swoop for almost no money. Anyone got a clue about this???

    • James Black says:

      Yes Bumpyfunk been reading same story and have no idea what the politics are about his severed ties. But i did also note that he hasnt ruled out re-signing with us as he is aware that could mean a break into first team football all the quicker. Like you Bumpy i know little about this lad but im very curious as be shame to lose him for such little money. Who said our academy is weak? No way is it weak. Its a watch this space on this one i guess. If he can keep such as this lad it really does send a positive message and if not well we will go forward still.

      .http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2173997/Manchester-United-approach-Foday-Nabay.html

  • DoctorD says:

    All I can say about Ambrose is that Colin Tattum will be lining up all his “Rice pudding” headlines in the Mail when the lad fails to sparkle and then wants out or a salary increase. “Ambrose-ia milks Blues as Darren creams club for pay rise” etc etc.

  • Jay Sidney says:

    Bravo! I can think of no better sports headline!


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