May 23, 2013 by bluenosebible
Over the past few months Blues’ have gone from an injury stricken side fighting against relegation to one full of confidence and settling for a mid table position in the second tier of English football. But the question is should we really be expecting greater things to come in the 2013/14 season?
Yes- Top 10 Minimum!
By the time of the first whistle in August, Lee Clark would have been in charge for just over a year of Birmingham City. This would have given him the chance to settle in properly at the club with two pre seasons under his belt and the experience of what is required from the Birmingham fans. Clark will be able to put his stamp on the club as the majority of the squad will be his signings with many players out of contract at the end of June. With this in mind, the Blues’ boss will need to put each player under the microscope to ensure everyone is heading in the same direction.
Furthermore, it needs to be considered is that with these out of contract players leaving, Clark is able to release the players surplus to requirements that only collected a handful of appearances between them e.g. Hayden Mullins and Pablo Ibanez. This gives him the opportunity to bring his own players in to the squad that fit into his own style of play, rather than having to play to the strengths of the existing squad.
Another group involved with the first team in their second season as well as Clark and his staff is the young players brought through the academy this year. Players such as Mitch Hancox, Callum Reilly and Will Packwood will start the season as first team players compared to being talented youngsters at the start of the last, meaning they’ll have valuable experience of what it takes to play in the Championship. They will only get better as one the key strengths behind Clark’s reign has been to develop the young players quickly to become important to the side.
No- We need to just stay clear of relegation until we find new owners!
Without a sale of the club in the summer, Clark will be struggling to swap the out of contract players with high quality replacements at an affordable wage. In turn this will create problems for the club to push on from the mid table finish as it will mean Blues may have less senior players coming in. This could affect our chances of pushing potentially for the play offs as it is less likely a younger signing would adapt as quickly to the move such as Andrew Shinnie or Lee Novak, similar to the start of this season. The budget restrictions will make Clark’s job extremely difficult to create the perfect formula at both ends of the pitch and less time than Mr. Yeung to organise a defence in his court proceedings!
Having a smaller squad because of the big changes to the squad could play a huge part in the season when fixture congestion peaks around Christmas. Injuries to key players could prove very costly when there are several games over a short period of time. Can you imagine where we could be now if Marlon King, David Murphy and Stephen Carr had been fit over recent months? As funds are low, Clark will struggle to find top quality Championship players within to wage brackets which could result in more academy graduates being brought through. We may have signed four players extremely early in the post season, but I doubt we will see many more recruitments on a permanent basis. These players will need time and shouldn’t be expected to perform straight away. We need to get behind them because sometimes fans forget that they want to perform even better more than we want them to so putting too high expectations on them will create a negative effect.
What would be your targets for next season?