Date: 11th May 2017 at 6:20pm
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Craig Gardner`s loan at Blues has today been made into a permanent deal, with the midfielder extending his stay at St. Andrews for a further three years.

The deal also comes with the option of a further year so I wouldn’t back against Gardner ending his career at his boyhood club.

When he rejoined the club in January, I think we all had high hopes that Gardner was going to come in and really improve us as a team.

His past with the club led us to expect him to come straight in and have the impact that he had when he was with us in the Premier League days.

As we know, Gianfranco Zola`s reign went terribly wrong and it nearly cost us but for the intervention of Harry Redknapp who looks set to continue as manager.

The whole team underperformed since the turn of the year but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Gardner`s performances have been underwhelming to say the least.

The circumstances have been difficult, I’ll give him that, but I just don’t think we’ve seen enough from him since rejoining.

One thing that’s stood out the most has been his set piece delivery. The amount of times we’ve seen his cross go straight into the goalkeepers hands or fail to beat the first man has been countless.

I think the fact that he is a Blues fan and he knows what it’s like to be one of us has somewhat let him off the hook a little.

We all saw what it meant to him when we secured safety on Sunday but I wouldn’t say it’s been down to his influence on the field, far from it in fact.

The quality you would expect from a player that, previously, had never played outside of the Premier League just hasn’t been there.

His influence off the pitch, however, would’ve definitely rallied the troops and I think he played a vital role in that sense.

But, I still expect a lot more to come from Gardner next season and he really needs to show up. If it was any other player, then the criticism would’ve been twice as worse.

I still think that he can be a key player for us particularly under a manager like Redknapp so hopefully we`ll see some top displays from him next season.

 
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