Clark’s boys asessed1
February 7, 2013 by Made In Brum
Made in Brum’s Oliver Osborn gives his verdict on how Lee Clark’s signings have fared so far.
Dave Lucas 3
Birmingham signed the veteran from Rochdale on a free transfer as cover for Butland and Doyle during the summer window. Lucas only played once for Blues during his stay against Barnet in the Capital One Cup and proved why he was only third choice by conceding a poor goal and being incapable of commanding his are throughout the match.
Paul Caddis 8
On the final day of the summer transfer window Blues negotiated a swap loan deal with Swindon for Adam Rooney and Paul Caddis heading in the opposite direction. The full-back has been brilliant since the day he signed and even got man of the match on his debut. A dislocated shoulder halted his progress, however, but he is still in the running to be one of the players of the season with his superb dribbling and solid defending.
James Hurst 5
When Paul Caddis dislocated his shoulder, Lee Clark immediately signed James Hurst on a youth loan from the Baggies. The young right back played on three times for Birmingham but a minor groin injury and his inexperience seemed to cost him his place in the side to Paul Robinson. He could be a prospect for West Brom in the future but the step up to Championship level is maybe too early for him.
Ben Gordon 3
Gordon was signed in the summer on a six-month loan from Chelsea to act as cover for David Murphy. Following a poor game away at Watford an even worse performance against Coventry in the Capital One Cup meant that he was never given a chance when Paul Robinson joined and even became fourth choice when Mitch Hancox was promoted from the development squad.
Paul Robinson 7
The 34 year old left back was originally signed up on a one month contract as back up to David Murphy in October, but several injuries to the defence this season has meant he has also played at right back and centre back. His experience has shown from his debut at Brighton with his leadership and ability to get the crowd going with strong challenges against players twice his height, which has resulted in his contract being extended until the end of the season.
Hayden Mullins 6
Blues signed Mullins from Portsmouth in July for an undisclosed fee. He started very poorly and Clark’s persistence to keep the midfielder in the side frustrated many fans and has become this season’s boo boy at St. Andrews, which I believe is harsh. I’m not saying he is our Michael Carrick but any mistakes he makes are exaggerated compared to other players due to his poor start to the campaign.
Papa Bouba Diop 6
On the opposite side of the fence to Hayden Mullins is Papa Bouba Diop who during his brief spell at St. Andrews was loved by the fans, even though he only started one game. His late cameo at Blackpool made him look like a Sunday league player, even with the fans singing his name throughout but my opinion completely changed in his only start for the club against Burnley as he was one of the best players of the pitch.
Darren Ambrose 4
Expectations were high as Darren Ambrose walked through the door with memories of his incredible strike at Old Trafford last season. It hasn’t worked out so far for the midfielder as he was forced to play on the left in the early stage of his Blues’ career before his injury that has seen him miss the last 3 months.
Ravel Morrison 7
Many fans were slightly concerned when Blues signed Morrison on a season- long loan from West Ham, how could Sir Alex Ferguson sell a player he once called “the next Paul Scholes” without there being a problem with him off the field they said. The young midfielder has been in and out of the side like a yo-yo but when he does get a chance to play he takes it. He can dictate the tempo of a game and pass the ball around the pitch with ease at such a young age and took his goal well against Hull at St. Andrews. If he keeps his head down and takes advantage of the opportunities he get he will play internationally at some point in his career.
Rob Hall 9
Another player I believe will go on to play international football is Rob Hall. Lee Clark took advantage of the loan window by using his friendship with Sam Allardyce to bring Hall to the club in November. His contribution has been huge with seven assists to his name and the 19 year old’s pace and ability to take on a player hasn’t been seen at St. Andrews for many years by a left winger.
Leroy Lita 7
In September, Blues signed Lita on a three month loan that was unfortunately cut short due to a thigh injury at the start of December, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t see any moments of quality from the Swansea striker. He made a promising start by scoring in his second game against Bolton and scored an amazing goal at Leeds but did not get the chance keep a starting position as Clark preferred King when it came to using a lone striker.
Peter Lovenkrands 5
Lovenkrands was one of the club’s first signings under Lee Clark in July and has found it extremely difficult to hold on to a place in the starting line up. He scored two good goals in the league against Leicester and Derby along with being one of the hardest working players in the squad but he has found himself down the pecking order recently and doesn’t look like getting much time on the pitch.
Wes Thomas N/A
As I have written this before we play Charlton away so I’m reserving judgement until I have seen him play a couple more times but his debut was promising, except for the sitter he missed in the second half.
By Oliver Osborn (@BluenoseBible)
I would generally agree with most things, here are my scores for his signings:
Dave Lucas- feel bad about saying this as he’s only played once, but he was our weak link in the game against Barnet. I get a strong sense that the transfer was a cheap precaution to make sure we had a backup keeper, rather than based on a judgement of Lucas’s ability. 3/10
Paul Caddis- I agree he’s been good for us, he has given the team everything you want for a fullback. He’s been energetic, provided us with some adventurous runs to help the attack, a good controller of the ball and he’s been solid when he’s needed to be. I’d have initially given him 7, but don’t think I could argue too much with giving him an 8/10. He’s been consistently good.
James Hurst- I’d give him a 4/10, probably a little harsh not having seen him play much, but he simply hasn’t done anything for us.
Ben Gordon- 4/10 for me. He has been absolutely shocking in the two games he’s played, and if had more games and played in the same way, I’d have given him a score of 1. I just don’t think it’s fair to mark a player down too far purely on 2 matches.
Paul Robinson- agree on 7/10. I prefer him slightly to Hancox because of the experience and organisation he provides the defence with. Also he’s a tough tackler which, as you say, gets the fans going. I’m glad his contract has been renewed.
Hayden Mullins- I would agree that because he played very poorly in the first few weeks of the season, the fans were quick to criticize him, so he’s been under the microscope. Therefore, when he makes a minor mistake now the fans notice and jump on it a lot more. He has got a good sense of positioning, but I just worry about his lack of pace- he can get outrun quite easily. Personally, I prefer Reilly and Gomis in the middle. Probably a 5/10 for me.
Papa Bouba Diop- he’s not played enough games for me to give him a score higher than 6/10, but I’ve liked what I have seen of him. He’s provided a useful aerial threat which has helped us in our attempts to dominate the midfield.
Darren Ambrose- he’s another that hasn’t played many games, and so it’s difficult to judge with too much authority. He’s often been forced to play on the left which isn’t his natural position, you’ve got to take that into account. He hasn’t done anything for us, then again, he hasn’t had time to. 4/10.
Ravel Morrison- people were saying it’s worrying that he must have a problem ‘off the field’, but on the flip side, Alex Ferguson is in my opinion, the greatest judge of player potential ever in football management. (whether you like him or not) If Morrison can sort out his personal problems, which it seems as though he’s on his way to doing, then we’ve got ourselves a quality player. So far, he’s looked creative, composed on the ball, a good reader of the game, he’s set our tempo… I’ve been very impressed with him. 8/10.
Rob Hall- the number of assists he’s got since joining on loan from West Ham has been invaluable really, and I’d love to see him extend his stay until the end of the season. He looks fairly pacy, but I think if we’re going for speed I prefer Burke and Redmond on the flanks, his main strengths have been his crossing and ability from set pieces. 8/10
Leroy Lita- has scored 3 goals in 10 games for us, important goals as well, which is a respectable return given the limited time he has had to work with the team. A successful loan move in my book. 7/10
Peter Lovenkrands- was delighted when I found out he’d signed because he did well for Rangers and Newcastle, I thought he’d add some quality going forward but it hasn’t really been the case. I think he’s been disappointing so far, he hasn’t scored enough goals. 4/10
Wes Thomas- agreed. To early to judge him.