As I left St Andrews with a bittersweet feeling on a surprisingly warm Tuesday night, I did wonder, how long could our unbeaten streak go? Lukas Jutkiewicz is scoring goals for fun, Adams is finally starting to put a consistently decent shift in each week and even Lee Camp, despite a scare or too, is pulling off some quality saves. This however does not give credit to the other players who are vital to our unbeaten run.
Both Maxime Colin and Harlee Dean are the standout performers at the back, with Morrison and Pedersen also putting in some very fine shifts. Gary Gardner has re-vitalised the side with creativity, whereas we used to solely rely on Jota, who is now free to roam and do what he likes. I would say Jota is the only one I haven’t been massively impressed with, and only because we know what he is capable of when he is at his best, but he has still been very influential throughout the side. The point I’m trying to make is that the boys in blue are on fire, and it couldn’t be more different to one year ago, under Steve Cotterill.
After the win against Reading, we were up to 9th, the highest position we have been in since the 17th December 2016, which was Gianfranco Zola’s first game. With arguably a better side than we had back then, we should ask the question, how far can we go? Play offs will be the target but will we go up this year? I highly doubt it, and that is a good thing despite all the promise and optimism surrounding our side. Right now, we are right in the middle of the EFL’s crosshairs and therefore with a further embargo, fine or even points deduction looming, would we come straight back down? Most probably.
Our next opponents are Sheffield Wednesday. And on the back of a 3-0 defeat to QPR and a 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough, we should look to take all 3 points. Wednesday will be without their experienced defender, Daniel Pudil, after he suffered a nasty head injury against QPR. Their main danger threat, Forestieri is also ruled out with a hamstring injury. Lucas Joao and Adam Reach have been their two main outputs this season with 5 and 4 goals respectively, with all of us seeing Reach’s many goals on social media. Ex Villa man, Barry Bannan, has also chipped in this season also, and he is bound to receive a frosty reception at St Andrews on Saturday, with the weather nailed on to match that also.
From what I have seen of Wednesday, they like to play round the back, and hold it there also, while waiting for a gap to open. They knock it around nicely, and are bound to, with Barry Bannan controlling the midfield. Looking at the highlights of their game with QPR, they like to expose space down the flanks, which is where both Maxime Colin and Kristian Pedersen are normally caught out. But if both of them remain switched on and alert to the danger, I believe we may continue our unbeaten run to 11 games.
Let’s get St Andrews rocking and I hope to see many of you there, as we have set ourselves a high expectation after large crowds at all our recent home games, most recently with 22,000+ on a Tuesday night, which is fantastic. I would also like to talk about the unfortunate minute’s applause for Chloe Kerr. Not only did it feel very special, it reminds us that sometimes, some things are bigger than Football. Enjoy the match on Saturday, and let’s get a win. Keep right on.