With the appointment of 39-year-old Garry Monk, the majority of bluenoses have been filled with an initial optimism, with only 11 games left of the season.
Monk begins his reign against his most recent former club, Middlesbrough. With Boro sat two points outside the play-off places, the former Swansea and Leeds boss will not have an easy first game. However, the stereotypical “new manager boost” could give the players a much-needed lift going into the game.
Despite the majority of the Boro squad having worked with Monk this season, it will be difficult for Tony Pulis to prepare for the fixture, with Monk having a new group of players that will help him put his stamp on the team.
With a new group of players it will be interesting to see how Monk lines up the team for Tuesdays game. With rumours circulating of Monks interest in Blues’ record signing Jota in the summer transfer window, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Spaniard get his first start since his brace at Hillsborough at the beginning of February.
Another factor that will be interesting to see is how Monk will set the team up. A lot of criticism was given to Steve Cotterill using tactics leading to Gallagher being isolated and for not trying to attack at a higher intensity, but instead, passively recycling the ball within the defence and David Stockdale with no real purpose.
Monk took part in his first press conference alongside Xuandong Ren on Monday afternoon. The key message that Monk gave was that he was fully focused on the eleven games ahead. On the other hand, Monk states he is excited for the future with Birmingham City as he quotes:
“I want to build foundations to get the club where it should be”
Furthermore Monk praised the fan base and other aspects of the club.
“Understanding what Birmingham is, the huge club it is, the fan base it has, the players that are here, all those ingredients suit the challenge I’ve been looking for”.
Alongside Monk comes Assistant manager, Pep Clotet, First team coach, James Beattie and goalkeeper coach Darryl Flahavan. Clotet joins Monk’s backroom staff – his first managerial job came with Oxford United who appointed him in July 2017, unfortunately for Clotet he was sacked by Oxford United in January, winning a third of his games there. James Beattie comes in as first-team coach under Monk, the former Everton and Sheffield United striker scored 130 goals in his league career, with 68 of them coming with Southampton, the club where he first met Garry Monk when they were both players. Flahavan also joined Leeds United as part of the backroom staff to new head coach Garry Monk. Furthermore, in June 2017 he followed Monk to Middlesbrough after Monk resigned as Leeds manager.
Blues fans, with the recent change in management, how confident are you that the team can survive this difficult season? And which players do you think Monk will turn to, to help steer Blues to safety?