Blues ended their pre-season schedule with a game against Leicester. Andy Munro was watching.
We’ve not had the best warm up in terms of results so it would have been nice to get a result against our Premier league visitors and, for a long period, it seemed we might. We went two- nil up thanks to a fabulous free kick from Cotterill and an even better goal when Demi Gray cut in to smash the ball home.
However, all through the game, we struggled at the back with Leicester’s pace where Vardy was just one of the fleet-footed Foxes. In fact it took a number of saves from Kuczak – some of them worryingly unorthodox – to keep us in the lead. Leicester made several changes at half-time and their strength in depth told as they pulled back the deficit before scoring the winner which they probably, on balance, deserved.
Where does this leave Blues? Well, in goal we’re probably saddled with the much-decorated Pole and we must hope his pedigree shows through once he settles down. In front of him, it is patently obvious that we need another central defender, if our aspirations are above the reaches of lower middle table. At least one of our full backs also need to go. Grounds is competent but hasn’t the pace to cope with the quicker Championship wingers.
In front, things look a bit more hopeful with the Dutch midfielder Maikel looking very comfortable on the ball, as did Jon Toral when he came on. I’d probably pair them with Dave Davis who looked lively in his admittedly limited way when he came on. The wingers looked the part and ,as a bonus, weighed in with a superlative goal each.
The worry, of course, is our lack of penetration down the middle. In fairness, Clayton D won’t come up against a Robert Huth every week but I will be amazed if he manages to net another 16 with Shinnie as his support. Shins flatters to deceive and it’s not a good policy to have such a goal shy player as the central support. To make matters worse, my missus would be more effective chasing back (apologies to the missus by the way).
If Blues persist with one up front then it has to be Reece Brown in the hole and even then, they need another forward in case Donaldson gets injured or they decide to revert to 4-4-2 late in the game. This means we need another central goalscorer so have we anybody in the existing squad who will cut the mustard?
Novak is limited and, as Gary Rowett obviously doesn’t fancy Wes Thomas, he’s better off elsewhere although I think he’s had a raw deal as he’s never let us down when he’s come on. Maghoma and Koby Arthur are really winger options rather than down the middle so, to me, we need to jettison Messrs Novak and Thomas and get in a central goalscorer as a matter of priority. If not, lower mid-table beckons and would probably represent a decent placing given the continuing Chinese (slow) burn that we continue to suffer.