Andy Munro on Blues’ games this week.
Blues had a decent workout against Leicester at Wast Hills on Wednesday afternoon and while they didn’t disgrace themselves, Premier League class eventually told in the two-nil reverse.
What did we learn? Not too much, as is the way with friendlies, but with the influential Jutkiewicz, Gary Gardner, Jon Toral and George Friend all consigned to spectator roles, the team were down to the bare bones. There was lots of huffing and puffing from the youngsters but little to get excited about with Blues looking ineffective in the final third.
Probably the only two bright spots were Charlie Aitken returning from loan and showing some excellent touches in midfield and keeper Zak Jeacock, who even saved a penalty.
Unlike Blues’ other young keeper Connal Trueman, Jeacock is a more physical presence and I, for one, would happily just sign one experienced keeper with Jeacock an able back-up. Other than that, on the negative side, vaunted prospect full-back Steve Seddon too often lost his man but let’s hope that was just a bad day at the office.
Next up was a trip to Spurs, and Aitor Karanka needed to field a full strength side in order to get some understanding on the pitch with the season now looming. However, with no Juke, Toral, Beko, Gardner or Sanchez available due to a combination of the timing of signings and injuries, Blues yet again put out a side of kindergarten proportions against the Champions League contenders. In fairness, the home side did the same in the first period and during that time both sides had their chances in a fairly evenly-contested period.
However, in the second half Spurs brought on their big guns and were camped in the Blues half. even allowing for the clear disparity in quality there were still some excellent performances. New Spanish keeper Andres Prieto looked solid and was able to command the defence while George Friend was a calming and organising influence. Probably, Dan Crowley was the standout player although Kleftenbeld and Sunjic also earned plaudits for their terrier-like performances. Other than that, Bela looked tricky and almost unplayable at times although the end product was a bit disappointing.
Losing one-nil to a goal in the dying seconds away at Spurs is no disgrace but the game showed that Blues still desperately need a centre-forward, as the absence of the Juke could prove fatal.