Andy Munro on Blues’ Boxing Day menu. No turkeys here.
When the media, players and manager use phrases like ‘digging deep’ and ‘grinding out’ you know that the game wasn’t one for the purist. However any win, any way, is currently welcome especially with Barnsley coming off a very good away win and teams like the Posh getting impressive results.
Overall, I’m resigned to a season where, from a personal view, I think that it’s about achieving a safe mid-table position, avoiding administration, selling, at most, just one of our star players and sorting out the China Crisis…hopefully ending up with an Italian job.
Anyway, with regard to the actual match, it was disappointing to see Packwood sidelined through illness after such an impressive performance against Burnley and, with influential players like King and Diop unavailable, it was always going to be a difficult fixture. In fairness, Lee Clarke went for a side that I would have probably selected given the number of players unavailable and it seemed the right decision when Curtis put us one up only to be immediately pegged back.
You only have to have watched the Liverpool v Stoke match to see the damage an immediate equaliser can do to the morale of the team that took the lead. In fairness to Blues they dug in and, in doing so, I have to eat humble pie in terms of sterling performances from Messrs Elliott and Caldwell – players I have often criticised. Mind you when Caldwell handled and Craig Davies stepped up to take the penalty it looked ominous. Thankfully it was blasted over the bar and maybe Craig needs to consider a belated return to his alternative career in the music industry!
A repeat of the Hall/Davies combination put us in the driving seat but it still took a fabulous save from Jack Butland to keep us on the road to victory. By the way, the suggested £6 million for Butland is a joke. If there was an offer turned down for him at the start of the season for £8 million, he must be worth £10 million with add-ons for England appearances plus a sell-on clause.
Bolton are next up and I would personally keep faith in a below par Redmond. I really don’t think you can play Ziggy up on his own because he hasn’t the ability to hold the ball up when we haven’t the midfielders to really penetrate the opposition box. Unfortunately however effective the wingers are this isn’t enough without being able to quickly populate the oppsition penalty area from the middle. Jervis isn’t an option as he is one paced and predictable (a typical youth product that Blues used to produce a few years ago!). Until either King or Aswante are available, persevering with Nathan is undoubtedly our best bet. I would be happy with a point….