Birmingham City finally return to action this Saturday with the final round of Championship matches. Nine games, with a fair number of points up for grabs, and five of those matches will be at home.
Playing without crowds, especially at home, will no doubt be weird and it will be interesting to see just how Blues cope without the St.Andrews faithful. All clubs are in the same boat obviously and therefore it could be argued that ‘home’ is not much of an advantage.
West Bromwich Albion away next up and perhaps this is the ideal time to play them in an empty stadium, with Blues desperately needing a local derby win. Over the recent seasons, we have failed to get one local derby win. What will be closely watched however will be the attitude of the players in these rem nine games especially since last week’s news of Pep Clotet leaving at the end of term.
My opinion is that it will affect the overall scenario – it has to. Being professional and all that is very well and good, and people expect that, but in reality the squad will, in my opinion, be in a slightly different mindset.
Nine games, twenty seven points and a slim, but nevertheless a chance, for an upwards surge in the chase for sixth spot, should the team get off to a flier, have been the priority rather than last week’s ill-timed news regarding Clotet.
However, Clotet and co need to get the squad prepared for what will be an exciting finale in this mini-league of nine games.
Most Bluenoses will, like myself, be keeping alert for both what’s going on, on the field and off, with the ‘guess who’s coming next’ debate in terms of new manager/Coach etc. Not good but there it is.
What we do know is that football is back, matches thick and fast, heartaches and joys along the way and the eternal hope that Blues can surprise a few by being the mini-leagues surprise package. Some club will be as it always has been with nine games left, and a generous amount of points available.
My hope is that Pep Clotet and Gardner can instil a real belief into the players that getting off to a flier is possible, and with it comes a real unexpected bonus of almost touching that sixth spot.
Hogan, Bela and Juke are the key elements for me.