With back to back home defeats, against Wycombe and Bournemouth, leaving Birmingham City in the old familiar lower reaches of the Championship table, supporters are beginning to see the same old pattern.
Add to these defeats – the loss to Sheffield Wednesday at home and a lucky draw against Rotherham – what has actually changed?
Aitor Karanka has brought in players he feels he needs, with Adam Clayton and George Friend from former club Middlesbrough, and a mixture of others who have been made available for him to bring in. Early days, yes, with only eleven games completed and this international break will hopefully get a few injured players back.
We certainly do need a settled team and players being used in their proper positions, not players who are being tinkered around. This I am seeing with Karanka’s decisions. The Bournemouth game left a number of supporters amazed even before kick-off, with not one wide player starting, even though Leko and Bela were on the bench. Keifenbeld and Davis returning added to the confusion. Dan Crowley who is decent, appears to have gone down the plughole. Undoubtedly Bournemouth knew from that teamsheet that a decent first half would secure their winning points.
Nobody who genuinely supports Blues expects much, and disappointment is as regular as night follows day, but where for heaven’s sake is the reality check for any incoming manager regarding our most pressing needs?
We need pace up front and a finisher. We have what must be the slowest and sluggish pair in any division and this is no way disrespectful as they do not select themselves. We have midfielders coming out of our ears and an abundance of central defenders with Clark-Salter added on loan.
Many will point to the absurd cliche ‘work in progress’ which we all get, but in reality, this phrase is always trotted out when things are not going well. Karanka needs to get up to speed with this Championship division and realise goals win games and since his absence, teams like Luton, Barnsley, Brentford and Rotherham have goals in them.
Add Preston to that list and you see why 17th in the table is where Blues deserve to sit.
We have been looking in the wrong direction for some time now with our striker pairings – Juke and Hogan – and as the transfer window closed it appears that either Karanka was happy with them or he couldn’t actually get what he wanted over the line.
My hope that it was the latter as for me the former is worrying.