Interview with Mark Watson

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I sat down with BCFC Followers writer Mark Watson (@MarkWatson1875) to look at just how well Blues have done
this season and his thought and hopes for the second half of the season.

JJ: So, Mark, Blues currently sit in 9 th position hovering just outside of the play offs and are currently exceeding all pre-season expectations. We all know that Garry Monk will take huge credit for this but what else would you credit this huge turn around to?

MW: Well the obvious answer has to be Jimmy-B and the Real Pep. I don’t think I can overstate just how much their presence has improved the atmosphere, training and tactical efficiency of the squad. You only have to look at our success with set pieces to see the impact Beattie and Clotet have had on this club and I don’t think it’s any real coincidence that our
strikers are on top form now that we have an
ex Premier League forward in our ranks.

JJ: As of writing this Blues have just lost at home for the first time in 15 matches. What has changed in our home form to make us so hard to beat at home this season?

MW: After raving about Monk’s right hand men, it’s time to give Garry some credit too. In the same way that having a former top flight striker has helped us out up front; having an ex Swansea centre back for a manager seems to have stopped the rot. Garry’s focus on creating a solid defensive back four has made us more consistent at the back and teams are having a
hard time breaking us down, especially through the middle.

JJ: It’s widely known about Blues’ financial situation and the embargo currently looming over us. How do you see the forthcoming January window and how would you use our one and only loan/free transfer? Do you see anybody heading out of the revolving door in January?

MW: Look, we were spoilt with ‘Arry’s wheeling and dealings last year. We’re Birmingham City, we can’t cope with such excitement and we don’t belong in that world! Now that the poisonous duo of Vetere and Dein have crawled back into the cess pits from which they emerged; I fully imagine the club officials to be sitting down watching Deadline Day on Sky Sports with a cup of tea and a biscuit. I’m thinking Rich Tea. Garry seems like a Rich Tea kinda guy. Clean, smooth and no nonsense.

As for the final loan/transfer – your guess is as good as mine. The squad has looked worryingly thin over the last few games and we need to use this signing wisely. If I had to guess though I’d say Monk will look for a winger since he’s opted to push Colin and Pedersen forward in recent weeks rather than play the existing midfielders that we have.

JJ: I personally highlighted last week that as good as Blues are at what they do, and I really hope we stick to the same philosophy that Monk is following, would you agree that Blues lack a plan B and how you go about changing that if so?

MW: Oh no, we definitely have a plan B. We call it “hoof it and hope”. See, if you say that confidently enough then it seems like it’s a good thing and something we’ve planned for all along. Rather than the desperation tactic that it actually is! You’re right, we seem to have a counter attacking plan A and we’re damned good at it. Whether that’s a sustainable plan of action over the rest of the season is debatable but I guess that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

JJ: Final question from me Mark, with blues performing very well for most of the season and showing it isn’t just a good start, how far can this blues team go and just where can Blues finish this season?

MW: The million dollar question! If we’re being completely honest then anything above a relegation scrap is an achievement. It really is testament to Monk & Co’s successes that Blues fans are even whispering the word “playoffs” without a massive dose of sarcasm. Based solely on our lack of squad depth, I’d say mid table is likely to be our final resting place. I’d love to throw caution to the wind and talk of a top 6 push but whilst our starting 11 is strong, I worry about our second string. I’d say we’ve definitely done enough to avoid a drop though so we might actually have a stress free April for once!

2 COMMENTS

  1. It doesn’t matter what system we play ,although 4x4x2 suits us , we just need to keep it tight at the back and play a system that rewards us with 6 + shots on target per match home and away remembering that playing away can render the home team a goal start as they have 20,000 managers pursuading the players what to do ..so we may need more shots on target away from home to win …..

  2. The most noticeable things what Garry & Co have achieved is creating a unity between the players and the fans. We are all pulling in the same direction. The players are putting in the effort and the fans are showing their appreciation. Lack of goals and a worrying tendency to concede has been the catastrophic formula that has become only too common in recent years. We are scoring goals regularly. When’s the last time we had two strikers in double figures. Last year this time we had scored 14 goals and struggling to get 2 or 3 shots on target in 90 minutes. It is all about partnerships Juke and Che are dovetailing nicely and looking for each other. The midfield duo of Kief and GG also compliment each other. Defensively we have had a settled back 5 for most of the season. Top 6 maybe a step too far considering the thinness of our squad but with 8 of the top 12 to still come to St Andrews the second half of the season should in theory be easier than the first.

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