As the new season appears over the horizon, the excitement builds and the much anticipated second city derby approaches at the church of St Andrews.
Having watched a mixed performance against Solihull Moors last week, I had a mixed feeling of how our squad fared against the newly promoted conference club. The first half was devastating, two goals from Donaldson sandwiching a Diego goal gave me heart for what lay ahead. I even saw a Solihull player apologise inbetweeners style for clattering Robbo on the edge of the box – not a site you see everyday. The second half was one of hilarity, my mate putting a fiver on Blues to win 7-0, watching James Vaughan attempting to hit every advertising board as if it was target practice and “Tagliatelle” at left back being pulled around by a lad I can only assume finished college an hour before. It was also interesting to see a 6’2″ Brock-Madsen playing on the wing, a player notorious for not being where you want him to be at the right time. I remember thinking to myself, the Villa would be terrified if they were watching the second half.
Sir Gary has brought well since he has been at the club and it appears some cash has freed itself up in recent months. It does pose the question – was the money held back from Clark on the off chance he’d try and sign Benson and hedges from Mike Bassett?
I see the addition of Tesche as a massive scalp, he brings a completely different dimension to the defensive midfield mindset of Kieftenbeld, Gleeson and Davis. His range of passing and calmness on the ball will grow other players around him. His link up play with Fabbrini was as if they have been together for years, with Donaldson equally in tune.
I, like many a bluesnose, were unsure with the addition of Shotton last season and I have had reports from fans of his previous clubs, Derby in particular, that he is brilliant whilst on loan and will cause us havoc once signed. I think this is going to have to be a case of watch this space.
I am big fan of Tomasz Kuzschak (not the top knot) and I think he breeds confidence throughout the team with his calm approach and his apparent only advise to his defence of “come on”. He, along with Caddis and Morrison bring a certainty about the play, a sense of belonging at the club where they understand the fans and what they are looking for. I would like to see Grounds replaced, I personally think the majority of goals we concede are caused by our wandering left back but he is a key player in the air, especially if Robbo is next to him.
I think everyone will agree with me that a new striker will need to be added to the ranks before the season begins. There was a large amount of disappointment when we missed out on Tom Bradshaw, a player linked with us for a very long time who has ended up at Barnsley. Now, everyone knows that money in general is tight, so looking at players like Charlie Austin or Jordan Rhodes is not on the table any time soon, but I would like us to unearth another Mikael Forsell. A player steeped in potential who is stuck at a club who want the Messi’s and the Ronaldo’s of this world. A player like Thierry Ambrose at Man City or our very own Ronan Hale, lads who know where the goal is but are not given the chance. It was brilliant to see Solomon-Otabor put the ball on to Storers head on Saturday. Pure enthusiasm and hard work for the greatness of the team.
As the saying goes, In Rowett we trust, the man has taken us from near oblivion to a safe club. We all know this is not where we want to be or where we really belong, but for those of us who stood shoulder to shoulder at the Reebok, 3rd May 2014, stared extinction in the face and told it where it can go, you will know that things aren’t as bad as they seem.