Andy Munro on Blues’ defeat at Charlton.
It’s now as good as official that the two fiercest second city rivals will lock horns next season. Of course, if either Blues or Villa win every game from now, the situation might change things but this is never going to happen from two teams who might hail from the country’s second city but a city that is quite frankly now third rate in terms of football when compared to the likes of Manchester and Liverpool.
Blues were always going to struggle from the moment they put a ‘tired’ Donaldson on the bench. The maxim that the league table doesn’t lie has never seemed truer as we are being found out as we slip to an (admittedly creditable) ninth or tenth place. The lack of a centre half of decent stature to partner the outstanding Morrison is becoming too big a cross to bear. He must be sick of bailing out a leaky defensive, Caddis excepted.
Perhaps the latter is a bright spot in the defensive gloom as, even though the Caddis and Rowett families won’t be going out for Sunday dinner together any time soon, Gary Rowett seems to have recognised the full back’s outstanding qualities. Unfortunately the midfield struggled and the attack was powder puff, Toral excepted. However, it looked a bit better when Donaldson and Maghoma came on and it was good to see Soloman-Otabor given a belated chance to show his pace and energy.
Unfortunately, the defence continues to leak goals and Charlton’s last gasp winner was symptomatic of our frailty. Incidentally, on that note, why didn’t Blues leave at least one player up front for that fatal corner? It would have taken two of the opposition away from our congested penalty area. Mind you, frustratingly,we have never used that sensible tactic over the years and it remains a mystery of gypsy curse proportions.
Now the promotion horse has well and truly bolted, the question is whether the manager will be poached, given that the signing of Lafferty on loan appears to have left Blues potless for next season. Like Chris Hughton, Rowett has managed to get a mediocre set of players to perform above expectations but maybe they can’t be taken to the well more than once. If it appears, that there is no money for next season why would he want to stay?
Even worse is the fact that teams below us like QPR, Leeds, Notts Forest, Wolves and Bristol City all have decent resources to spend money. Add to that the relegated teams and those who don’t win the play offs and next season is going to be almost impossible if Blues can’t invest further. Not the most attractive of scenarios for a management team likely to be in demand.