Andy Munro watches Blues’ friendly defeat to Swansea and has concerns for the future.
This serves as a comment after the first friendly that I’ve bothered to go to which also serves as a comment on our transfer dealings at that point in time.
I’ve never been a great fan of friendlies with my usual kidology being if we lose that it doesn’t mean anything but if we get a good result then it’s a good omen and confidence builder for the team. One of the reasons I went to the Swansea game is that it was just a week before the season when the ‘friendly’ should be a serious run out for the proposed first team line up.
There was some good news but more bad news in the two-nil defeat where, incidentally, if we’d been braver, we could have probably got a result. In fact, the second late goal was an unfortunate deflection and academic in the grand scheme of things.
Yet this couldn’t paper over a number of slightly alarming deficiencies. The good news at the back was that, apart from one fumble, the new keeper looked good with excellent distribution as well as a couple of crucial saves. The central defenders were excellent with Roberts particularly peerless in the air. The bad news was that the full backs left much to be desired. Grounds goes through the motions supporting the winger which meant that Maghoma’s early trickery was shut out with no options to pass.
Wes Harding on the other flank may be a promising young centre back but he’s no fullback. Both full backs were caught napping on too many occasions defensively but , presuming that Nsue and Dacres-Cogley are injured, the right back situation can be fairly easily remedied. The worry is the left back as despite a promising cameo from Keite, he is probably more of a wing back and Grounds isn’t fit for purpose if we want to even challenge for the play-offs.
In midfield, Davies and Gardner carried on from where they left off last season. – another great display by Davies but a fairly anonymous one from Gardner. The new boy, N’Doye, looked fairly promising although undoubtedly needs a few more games to get fully up to speed for the English game.
Unfortunately, attacking-wise we lacked width with Maghoma being crowded out due to lack of support and there was no winger or overlapping fullback on the other flank. Further up front was the most worrying because although Che Adams had an excellent game (despite missing a few chances), he was really the only game changer in view. This is because whether it’s Jutkiewicz or Donaldson, they both battle hard, hold the ball up but never look that dangerous in goal scoring terms.
And while Swansea had a rake of substitution options, our cupboard was somewhat bare although why the Bulgarian triallist and Morrison weren’t given at least a half, remains a mystery. Perhaps another mystery that, in sending out Fabrini and Otabor on loan before we have adequate replacements has left us short in trying to change/get back into games. Additionally, making Cotterill and Storer virtually persona non gratta has added to the paucity of options.
Harry is already saying he needs to get more players in and therefore needs board support, which makes one wonder whether the TTA/Redknapp love in is going sour. Let’s hope not.