It seems as if Blues are getting a touch of the ‘Chris Hughton’s’ as we have reverted back to last season’s legendary ability to snatch a result at the death.
In truth, Blues didn’t play particularly well and owed a lot to the exploits of Jack Butland; although that is not to say that Colin Doyle is not a capable replacement should the 19-year-old not return once his loan period expires at the end of the season. What it does emphasise, however, is that whilst Pannu commendably played hard ball on the potential sales of Davies, Burke et al, he has presented Stoke with the bargain of the season. If young Jack were worth £6million at the start of the season then surely £10million would now be a more realistic valuation.
Lee Clark set up his Blues team in perfectly sensible way with the two wingers balanced by playing Wade Elliott in just behind lone striker Marlon King. On a bobbly pitch where results normally have to be grinded out, such tactics couldn’t be criticised. But, apart from occasional dangerous flashes, Blues never really hit any decent spells of fluency.
The Blues back four currently picks itself, but fielding two players without any pace – namely Paul Robinson and captain Steven Caldwell – is always going to be difficult against a proven pacey Charlton Athletic front line.
In the centre of midfield, young Callum Reilly and Morgaro Gomis struggled manfully but something just does not seem quite right. In fairness, Lee Clark’s oft quoted instruction for the centre to get the ball out to the wings early is sensible, but, to coin the phrase, that is clearly proving easier said than done. Thankfully, the seemingly invigorated Chris Burke can make a silk purse move out of a sow’s ear pass but on the other flank Rob Hall seems to be effective only in fits and starts.
Up front, despite his advancing years, Wade Elliott continues to confound. Whilst it might be stretching it a bit to call him the Frank Lampard of the Championship, he undoubtedly has a habit of weighing in with points accumulating goals. Meanwhile, Marlon King is going through a comparatively baron spell – by his standards at the very least – and certainly when Udinese visit St. Andrews next week, Blues need to bolster the forward line and put the Hornets on the back foot.
On paper, the Blues team should be looking upwards not downwards but with all the struggling teams getting good results; there is certainly no room for complacency – despite the mini revival of late.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
1. Is it time to give young Callum Reilly a rest?
2. Would you play two up front against Watford who are likely to be strong in midfield?
3. Should Keith Fahey return, would you bring him into the centre of midfield?
Leave us a comment below!
Vice Chairman, Blues Trust