With League leaders Newcastle making their second visit to St Andrews of the year this weekend there is genuinely only one feeling that I can describe, dread. I’m dreading looking at the result, I’m dreading hearing about the performances, I’m relieved I’m pre-engaged this weekend as it means I have an excuse not to attend St Andrews and to be fair that’s an attitude I really don’t like but one that I’m neither alone in feeling with some fans no doubt point blank not attending or at least looking for an excuse not to.
Whilst blues have held Newcastle to a draw at St Andrews once this season when we played them in the Emirates Cup, we have also conceded a total of 8 goals so far, suffering a 4-0 defeat in the process. Tomorrow we will need to learn from the lessons already this season but more importantly we will need to show some of the resolve that allowed us to hold them to a 1-1 draw at St Andrews.
One potential positive is that Clayton “The Don” Donaldson will be in contention having played 45 minutes in each of the last two Development Squad games and more importantly having scored in both appearances. Hopefully this will give Blues the kick we need although I can’t see him playing a full 90 minutes. As Blues top goal scorer last season hopefully he can replicate this as we finish off the last few games of 16/17 season assuming Zola utilises him correctly.
Newcastle will be looking to bounce back from defeat after a slight dip in form has seen Brighton close the gap between them and I fear they will see Blues as easy pickings to do this. Our defence has been a concern and if Newcastle throw everything at us I don’t think we can withstand a potential hammering. Play-Off chasing Fulham’s 3-1 victory over the Geordies was a shock that I imagine they don’t intend to repeat.
The big question then on fans lips will be regarding the future of Zola if we don’t manage to get anything at the weekend. We’re repeatedly told that Zola has the backing of the board but I do wonder whether a heavy defeat will make the decision for them. I really hope come Saturday evening we’re all talking about how we pulled off a shock victory and how things are turning around, unfortunately I’m not that optimistic at the minute.