Andy Munro reports on a mixed few days at St Andrews.
Tony Mowbray was somewhat less than magnaminous in his summing up of Blues last-minute win over his Blackburn side. Mowbray, the guy who looks like he’s chewing a bag of spanners, wouldn’t even credit his Mum and I, for one, wouldn’t credit her for giving birth to the miserable git. Yes, they had plenty of chances when we were down to ten men but they couldn’t convert them as we found to our own cost against the Baggies and Leeds.
It was great to see Clarke-Salter back, and that he went off with cramp rather than another injury plus the withdrawal of Montero being based on a muscle tweak and not a tear was a relief. Dane Crowley’s goal will do the kid’s confidence no harm and Jude Bellingham goes from strength to strength. Shame about Sunjic who took one for the team but his time will come sooner rather than later.
Both sides made changes but in fairness to both not many, so this was a match that both wanted to win. Perhaps more importantly, winning breeds confidence, which is something Blues have been badly lacking recently, so fingers crossed although the EFL is an unforgiving league this becomes a launch pad for better things. However, maybe it’s time for Pep to abandon his tinkerman tactics and play the same team against the Hatters?
It was certainly better than the New Year’s Day defeat to Wigan. Bottom of the Championship form league and losing to the bottom side is probably the reason 95% of the Tilton Road would still sack Pep tomorrow.
Yet, for the moment, I’m in the 5% remembering that we had an excellent run earlier on under the same man and the leaky defence that has been caused by the absence of Roberts and Clarke-Salter . I can’t even knock his ploy of playing Gaz Gardener at the back to try and stiffen up the defence with experience, although of course it didn’t work.
Getting a pacey goalscorer and restoring at least one of our top-line defenders might be an instant cure but there is a ‘but’. Whilst Pep seems a nice bloke, sometimes that’s not enough and as an example step forward Mr. Harlee Deane, Now, I don’t agree with him being hounded by keyboard warriorss but Deane, as the last remaining experienced central defender left standing, should be directing the defence like a traffic policemen on acid and shouting like a Sergeant Major in a Carry On film. He’s certainly not doing that and that’s where there is a worry that Pep lacks the authority to get him to take that responsibility. That, and his tinkerman tendencies are becoming a worry.
The sands of time may be running out…..