By Far The Greatest Team

The football blog for fans of all clubs

As We Journey On #2: Decent Point, Dreadful Window Prospects And An FA Cup Dream

Before I get into the blog, and I promise this will not be a regular occurrence within these, I wanted you to be aware that I had the honour to go on the Tilton Talk podcast. It has always been a dream of mine to be a regular podcast host and to take the first step into podcasting was a major achievement for myself. I would highly recommend to all you bluenoses to go and check them out on Facebook, on the page KRO – Birmingham City. The podcast is streamed live on there every Monday at 7:30 pm. Hopefully, my appearance won’t be the last but if it is then I will never forget it.  

Holding Preston To A Point  

Last Saturday saw us bluenoses travel to Deepdale for the league game against Preston. It was a game that didn’t have any significant meaning but still had the feel of an important game for us especially because of the loss against Derby. We didn’t want to go into the next game on the back of two losses as this would feel like we are settling back into previous routines and disastrous routines at that.  

Preston went into the game sitting in 10th place and only two points from 6th place. They were coming into the game in mixed form since the start of the year, winning one, drawing one and losing one. However, they were still looking at breaking into the playoff places after the game and must have been thinking they would pick up all three points against a poor Blues side.   

Blues were going into the game after an unlucky, yet heavy, defeat against Derby. Blues had been playing well before the Derby game and they were looking at trying to get the ball rolling again, especially with our next league game being a massive six-pointer against Sunderland.  

Sam Gallagher went into the game in fine goal-scoring form and Jacques Maghoma would be looking to add to his recent fine performances. Overall, the Blue haven’t been playing too badly, we just struggle to put away the chances within games and always find ourselves conceding the first goal, which really doesn’t help confidence.  

I must say, before the match report, that considering Preston are pushing at the top of the table, their home support was shocking and it really surprised me by the lack of bodies down at Deepdale.  

The game started and Blues went out, just like the Derby game, and really pushed forward. In the fifth minute, Sam Gallagher had a wonderful chance at goal. He turned their defender brilliantly and fizzed a shot on target. The Preston goalkeeper stuck a leg out and it just took it wide of the post.    

Things were looking positive once again for Blues and in the ninth minute, we had a golden chance. The ball was delivered perfectly by Boga into the box. Gallagher and Ndoye both went up, got in each other’s way and Gallagher glanced the header wide. Ndoye was fuming with his teammate and rightfully so, he was attacking the ball at a better angle. It seemed like it was going to be one of those days.   

Then the inevitable happened. Blues once again concede the first goal and what a pathetic goal to concede. The ball went into the box and Marc Roberts went up to head it, put it across his own goal and it ended up falling perfectly for Davies three yards out. What the hell was Roberts doing? My dog could have defended that better.    

Anyway, like usual Blues found themselves behind once again and the players fell in confidence. The rest of the first half was just awful. Neither team was showing any decent footballing ability and the half-time whistle saved the fans from an awful game.  

The second half kicked off and the Blues came out fighting once again. They had their confidence back, they were pressing Preston down, looking decent on the ball and generally doing what we bluenoses want, putting some damn effort in.   

Maghoma put a free kick just wide and the bluenoses were pumped and the noise level was unreal. This really helped the team and we were finally rewarded for all the hard work as in the sixty-third minute Gallagher scored.   

Now, Gallagher will go down as the goal scorer but Maghoma deserves all the credit. The winger ran down the Preston defence, de-possessed them with a thumping slide tackle, and just beat Preston’s goalkeeper to the ball. The ball fell to Gallagher and, thankfully, he thumped the ball home. 1-1. This was the chance for Blues, Preston was there for the taking.    

Now, this is where I get on a bit of a rant about Steve Cotterill and the lack of situational understanding. We have both Adams and record signing Jota on the bench, twenty-five minutes to go and everyone could see Preston were there for the taking. What do you do? Obviously, you put at least one of Adams or Jota on straight away. No, not genius Cotterill, he decides to be an absolute idiot and finally put Adams on in the 86th minute. Unbelievable.   

We came close to winning the game right at the death, when the ball came in from a corner, Ndoye rose like a salmon and thumped a header towards goal, but amazingly a Preston player managed to block it on the line and as a result stopped all of the blues fans from running on the pitch and carrying Ndoye on their shoulders. God, what I would give for that bloke to score!   

The game finished 1-1 and if someone had offered me a point before kick-off I would have happily taken that, but with how we played we should have really won. If only Cotterill knew he can make a sub before the eightieth minute.    

Blues stay 23rd and really need to win their next match considering the opponents are Sunderland. Preston dropped a place and are now four points off the playoffs.   

Transfer Talk     

This week has been pretty boring in terms of Blues and transfers. There’s been no new contracts for players, no outgoings and obviously no incomings either. I’ll get to the incoming links first as they are quite depressing to read as a bluenose.   

The only two players to be strongly linked with Blues are experienced strikers Hugo Rodallega, yes, I know, hold your laughter as it only gets better, and Carlton Cole. Yes, the one who played for West Ham about a decade ago. Both of these links are just laughable, Cole is available on a free and Rodallega has a release clause of £1.5 million. The thought of us paying that amount of money for Rodallega is truly depressing and I can only hope that, in both cases, it’s their agents talking or just general paper talk to finish their articles off.    

The last player to be linked with a move to Blues is Brentford midfielder Alan Judge. Reports came out stating that Blues wanted to take Judge on loan as he isn’t getting many minutes for Brentford this season, however Brentford, apparently, do not want to make a deal. This would be, in my opinion, a fantastic move for Blues. Judge is the type of player we are crying out for, someone who knows how to keep possession, not win it and then lose it after failing a five-yard pass.   

There hasn’t been much outgoing news. I believe, just before the last blog went up, the news broke of Stephen Gleeson leaving on a free transfer to Ipswich. I’m not too bothered about losing Gleeson, he has been a good servant for the club but he couldn’t get near the first team this year.  

The thing that shocked me was allowing him to leave on a free and not try to get a small fee for him, especially given our current financial state. This I feel was a poor move by the club and I hope it doesn’t hinder any deals currently happening.    

Another story to break this week actually destroys me and I hope it is complete rubbish. Reports have come out saying Ndoye is attracting interest from France and China. Now, a lot of bluenoses don’t like Ndoye as he has struggled to settle into the English game, however, he is one of those players I like. He is the subject of a lot of jokes from Blues fans and he reminds me a little of how people felt about Zigic at first.  

If he is to leave and I will be heartbroken, I really hope he gets his first goal against Huddersfield on Saturday and if he still at the club, to go and score the winner against Sunderland on Tuesday night. Imagine the scenes at St. Andrew’s if Ndoye, in front of the Tilton bangs in a late winner. What a parting gift.   

Other than that, no other news has appeared for Blues and we still haven’t had a development of the Dein vs Ren story from last week, which is quite worrying…   

FA Cup Dream  

Saturday sees bluenoses on the road again as we head to the John Smith Stadium to face Premier League side Huddersfield. This game should be an interesting one as it could see both teams field a weakened starting eleven. Huddersfield will come into the game as favourites, obviously, but Blues could win the game as Huddersfield aren’t the strongest of sides.   

This game I feel is important, like all games, and we shouldn’t enter the match thinking ahead of the massive six-pointer against Sunderland on Tuesday. I think Cotterill will have this in mind when selecting the team but I can’t see him making too many changes, especially after the impressive showing against Preston.   

I’m hoping for a win as I would love a cup run, even if the league, with where we sit, is more important. However, I can see us just missing out on the next round and a loss of 1-0 will be waiting for us on Saturday. If we do go through, however, I would love to be drawn away against Spurs, imagine a day out at Wembley, just what we bluenoses deserve with the stuff we have put up with over the last few years.   

Six Pointer Sunderland  

Tuesday night is the big one, we play host to relegation rivals Sunderland in, what is, a mid-season six-pointer. It is a game both teams must win and obviously Blues need it more. If we can beat Sunderland on Tuesday night I will be extremely hopeful for the remainder of the season. It is one of those games that will make or break your season and I just hope we win.  

Obviously, Sunderland will be looking at the game in the same perspective as Blues and will want to win the game to stretch the gap between them and ourselves. Sunderland has been doing okay under Coleman and will be a big threat to Blues.    

All I want is us to take the game seriously but not be lost in the importance of the game and lose all attacking focus. All I want to see is the players give everything and maybe hammer Sunderland. One can dream you know.    

However, if we do lose both matches it may be bad but it will never be as bad as Leeds’ new badge. Dear God what were they thinking with that…

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