Often Partisan

The Return of Keith

When Blues come in for training this morning at Wast Hills they will be rejoined by Keith Fahey who is completing his rehabilitation from a groin injury that kept him out of the European Championships. Fahey, who trained lightly with the main group last week is back in the swing of things this week and will be looking to be in the squad to travel to the City Ground to play Nottingham Forest at the weekend.

I think we’ve missed our Irish central midfield maestro so far this season. Blues have struggled somewhat in the middle of the park and I think this has been in part due to the fact that neither Mullins nor Ambrose were with the club last season and that they are still settling in. With Jordon Mutch departed for Cardiff City and Fahey injured it’s been all change in the middle and I think that has slightly disrupted the spine of the team – something that may have contributed to the defence being somewhat shakier than last season.

Fahey has had a fairly incredible journey with Blues. Signed for less than half a million quid from Irish side St Patrick’s Athletic in 2009, we were told by then boss Alex McLeish that we shouldn’t expect the Irishman to “walk into the side”. I think I would be right in saying that at the time he signed many Blues fans didn’t expect Fahey to get many games for the club yet at this moment in time Fahey has made more first team appearances in Royal Blue than anyone else at the club currently.

In that time he’s gone from a bit part player shoved out on the left who was the inevitable sub that came on during the “invincibles” run to becoming the mainstay of the central pairing last season. I think people have come to realise that at this level at least Fahey offers a lot of the creativity from central midfield that Blues fans have demanded over the years and in my opinion at least he’s probably one of the best passers we have at the club.

With Fahey fit it’s going to be interesting to see how Lee Clark works his central midfield; if Ambrose recovers from the knock that kept him out of the game against Peterborough Blues have a massive surplus in the middle – Fahey, Ambrose, Ravel Morrison, Morgaro Gomis, Hayden Mullins, even Jonathan Spector… and yet, like under long spells under McLeish, we’re a bit stuck for a true left winger. One of my worries is that Clark will shunt Fahey out wide to “do a job” – something that I think was unfairly put upon Keith when McLeish was in charge and will definitely detract from what he can do for Blues.

Saturday will see Blues enter another little run of games before the next break for international football with six games in a 21 day spell. If Blues are to push on and show us that they truly are promotion candidates they are going to need to take a good number of points in that spell – there is no Europe as a distraction this year and the League Cup has been and gone so the focus is well and truly on the Championship. I’m a believer that if Clark can get the best out of his best players – and one of those being Keith Fahey – then come the next pause for breath Blues will be sitting somewhat prettier.

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18 Responses to “The Return of Keith”

  • Letsby Avenue says:

    Keith Fahey can’t come back soon enough for me – but I don’t want him back too soon.

    The most succesful teams have had a ‘clone manager’ on the pitch.
    Bremner for Revie
    Keane for Ferguson
    Fabregas for Wenger
    Nolan for Allardyce

    Under Hughton I think it may have been Carr.
    We never had a midfield ‘general’ as many sucessful teams have had – a substitute manager on the pitch,an identi-kit manager on the pitch. Gemmil and Kendall were just pro’s, not ‘clone-managers’….:-)

    My point being is that Keith isn’t that kind of player, we need his ability of course, but it was well into last season when Keith’s consistency and skills finally got through to the Blues knocker-boys.
    He had a kind of unscripted, less restricted role under Hughton, that he didn’t have under McLeish.
    imo.

    Let’s hope that Keith returns fit and good, and that he is allowed the freedom to move out of the McLeish zone, and, most importantly we don’t expect too much too soon.

  • ChrisG says:

    I hope people aren’t gonna expect too much too soon from Fahey, he’s been out for a long time & let’s not forget that certain fans were booing him not so long ago for lackluster performances. It’s funny how many people keep going on about how much we’ve missed Fahey & Mutch, a lot of people seem to have forgotten the contribution of N’Daw, not the most graceful of players but for me a colossus in midfield & not afraid to put his foot in & take one for the team as it were, he was big miss when he got injured.

  • Barry says:

    Welcome back to Keith. It will be a bit like having a new signing. However, I echo the previous comments. The player is going to need time to get match fit and also to blend in with the new faces. Let’s continue to use him as CH did to get the best out of him

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Possible bonus is that Ambrose for whatever reason has played well below his best and another mystery has been the stuttered introduction of Morrison. If Ambrose hits form, Fahey returns and regains his previous form and we play Morrison, with Leroy Lita promising to terrorise the Championship defences, I can see us reclaiming our place in the play off pack at least – and we’ll see the fans return!

  • hammy says:

    give gomis a good run…we havnt seen the best of him by far yet…..

  • Quokkasskip says:

    I think he will pick Keith at Forest and hopefully drop Mullins(who has been woeful). Last season it all started to unravel versus Forest/Derby at home and it was at that time that Keith got injured. Badly missed in the run in last year and the start of this season. Agree totally with your comment that without a decent centre mid, the defence has been terribly exposed. Keith turned from villain to one of the crowd favourites last year and I am sure the fans will be v supportive and pleased to see Keet back!

  • mortonsblue says:

    Fahey and Morrison, its the future…….

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    The boo boys keep quiet on Fahey now but his treatment by them was nothing short of criminal.

    Booing his name when it was announced over the tannoy even,

    Boo boy filth.

  • crothcer88 says:

    welcome back keith i dont think the peterbro game has kick started our season but a win against forest cetainly will cum on blues

  • AL-LAD says:

    Fahey and Gomis in the centre for me, please then switch Lovenkrands to the left.

  • Tom says:

    Does anyone know what happened to Jaroisk or whatever his name was we loaned him from chelsea then never heard of him again, thought he was brilliant

  • Swedish Bluenose says:

    I never liked to hear that Keith Fahey was booed by the supporters, it is not the way you should act if you are supporting a club. He is a decent player who has come from almost nowhere (well, the Irish League) and made an great impact in quite a big club such as Birmingham. I agree about his good passing and he also have a good shot, but perhaps because of the boo boys he had held back on that a bit. Fahey will definitely bring experience to the central midfield and I would like to see him play there, not far left where we can use Lovenkrands or Morrison. Put him in the middle with in-form Jonathan Spector. Burke to the right and Lovenkrands on the left. Let King rest so he feels the competition and let Lita and Zigic form the attack.

  • Johnners says:

    Yeh, welcome back the boy Keith. Hit the post at wembley. Not exactly an enforcer in midfield though. With Lita coming in then surely Clark can play Lovenkrands on the left and give us some genuine width. We need one creative midfielder from Fahey, Morrison or Ambrose where it seems Fahey is a shoe-in once fit and then one defensive midfielder from Spector, Mullins or Gomis. Since Mullins has blotted his copybook badly so far and Gomis is very willing but midget-sized then I am tending to go for a Fahey-Spector combo in the middle of the park. If that’s how it turns out then I expect Peter Pan will have a few words to say to Lee ‘Tinkerbell’ Clark about his transfer policy over the Summer!

  • Blue Steve says:

    Will be very pleased to see Fahey back. I also agree that our best midfield 2 is Fahey and Spector. What is disappointing is that LC did not recognise this and has bought in Morrison, Ambrose and Mullins when this money could have gone towards a left winger. KRO


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