Andy Munro watches Blues and wonders.
I’ve been having a serious think following our latest setback and one hopes that Gary Rowett is doing the same. It’s a certainty that if you concede four goals that you’re not going to win a game whereas scoring three should do the opposite. Mind you at 3-1 down, it was looking like it was going to be a Lee Clark type scoreline but thankfully we did battle to the end, albeit in vain.
In fairness to Rowett, he’s dragged us out of the mire using a set of mainly average players who have been playing at the top end of their capabilities and now seem to have plateaued. Of course, the question is what can be done when options are limited. Certainly, Morrison’s influence has been sorely missed and unless the new Robbo can settle in equally impressively then there’s not much tweaking that can be done to the defence.
In fairness, our makeshift central defence have done us proud and with both fullbacks generally performing at a decent level then it’s probably further forward where the problem lies in not providing decent defensive cover. Incidentally, I take no heed of those calling for Randolph’s head. Undoubtedly, he has won us more points than he’s lost us so I feel that’s just a red herring.
However, further forward Blues are badly missing Davies, especially as Gleeson is a bit in and out form wise. Meanwhile Shinniesta has reverted to the plain old Shinnie who takes one too many touches and is too easily bullied off the ball, particularly away from home. Reece Brown seems to me a shoe-in replacement supported by the adage that if you’re good enough then you are old enough.
Other than that, the only change in a 4-4-1-1 formation that can conceivably be made would be to bring back Cotterill for Dyer – and I hope those who panned Cotterill against Boro will now admit the error of their ways.
Of course, there is the option of changing the formation either to 4-4-2 or 3-5-2 although the latter would merely nullify one of our strong points ie. dependable fullbacks. So that leaves 4-4-2 which a lot of us would like to see but this would leave the manager with a dilemma. If Wes Thomas starts alongside Donaldson, one of the wingers has to be sacrificed because the two central midfielders, Shinnie, Gleeson,Reilly and Davies (pick any two) are patently not good enough as a duo.
Therefore, a workhorse like Novak is needed as support and who will graft without being thrown by the winger role? It’s a conundrum brought about by our general lack of quality in the centre of midfield. In fact, the only thing on which I take issue with Gary is that he’s on record in saying that he would like a different option up front. He’s got Donaldson, a target man who works like a Trojan, Ziggy who is big and awkward, Thomas who has power and pace and Novak, a non stop runner. To me, that’s enough options if everything else is working properly; that is , unless Wilfred Bony is available.