Often Partisan

Looking Forwards

I think we can all agree that Saturday’s game against Wigan was a horror show, whichever way you look at it. I don’t think it’s just that Blues didn’t turn up, or our tactics were off, but that it was a game we needn’t have lost. I said before the game it wasn’t a “must win”, more of a “must not lose” – but watching the game it became evident early on it was a “should win” game because of how poor and nervous the hosts looked. Indeed, barring the thickness of the bar, or the awarding of what I reckon was a fairly cast-iron penalty, we probably could have won it despite how poor we played. This is how thin the dividing lines between success and failure are. However, talking of what ifs is nothing but debate and hypotheticals now; Blues have to look to their remaining fixtures to pull themselves out of the mire.

I think the international break has come at a good time for Blues; only six of our squad are on international duty (Zigic, Larsson, Fahey, Beausejour, Foster and Martins), and hopefully the remainder of the squad can have a break and maybe allow their weary bodies a rest. I’m a little concerned that Zigic, who has missed our last few games with a knock has been called up by the Serbs, but maybe it will give him the chance to get back into the goalscoring groove – you would hope that he’d be able to net against the footballing giants of Northern Ireland and Estonia. Likewise, with Fahey and Martins having been struggling with injury you would have to question why they too have been called up to their respective national teams. On the home front, I think it’s vital in the next two weeks we ensure that Martin Jiranek is back to full fitness as Curtis Davies doesn’t seem to be inspiring confidence in his team mates or the fans. Indeed, we need to be in the position whereby there is competition for places again, and that we’re not reliant on rookie teenagers to show the old stagers how it’s done.

I hope McLeish also has one or two reserve friendlies lined up; maybe give a couple of players the chance to work out some of the kinks to their game. More importantly, I think the coaching staff need to work on a bolder line up, a bolder formation and tactical set up because the Bolton game is now a “must win”. Bolton are a very good side; with the addition of Daniel Sturridge who was cup tied for their last fixture at St Andrews they will be a formidable outfit. Eck needs to work out how he’s going to break them down, and how the team is going to create a plethora of shots on goal so we have a fighting chance of scoring a couple. We’re not going to keep a clean sheet – our defence has been on the rack recently – so it’s vitally important we start hitting the onion bag with more frequency. Goals and attacking play will also fire up the home crowd, and it’s vitally important to McLeish that he has the Blues fans onside for the run in.

I still believe that Blues can stay up, and that McLeish is the right man for the job. Once again, I’ve become a bit isolated in this belief as the naysayers have come back with a vengeance – after the last three league performances I can barely blame them. The next two weeks are a chance for Eck to prepare his team properly for the next league game; the time for blame is over for me – the time has come for Alex and his players to show us that we are worthy of being a top flight team.

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