September 21, 2013 by bluenosebible
One win out of seven, four points out of a possible twenty one. Doesn’t matter how it is written, it will still look like the form of a side threatened with relegation.
Using the “R word” quite so early on in the season might seem unfair, but our next three home games are against Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall and Bolton Wanderers, sides with a single win between them this season. If they were at different parts of the season we’d be expecting to win, so why should we say anything different just because they’re in a row?
We wouldn’t have worried about the favourites tag in these games under a Scot by the name of Alec McLeish who made St. Andrews a fortress during his time at the club, including a whole calendar year unbeaten at home in the Premiership. Teams feared coming to B9 because they knew they’d always be in for a tough match, with an intimidating Bluenose crowd getting behind their side and would have to be on top of their game to leave with a point. Nowadays, under Lee Clark’s leadership teams come to St. Andrews with the confidence that they can get a result and blocks of fans arguing with one another rather than supporting the team.
I’m not saying McLeish should come back nor the best thing since sliced bread, but I just can’t get my head around how in four years we’ve gone from one of the most intimidating away fixtures in the country to one of the easier away games in the Championship. Would we have been battered by Barnsley and humiliated by Watford under McLeish? I doubt it very much.
First up at St. Andrews is Sheffield Wednesday who, despite their position, could be very awkward customers. In last season’s match against the Owls the game ended as a pretty dire 0-0 without either making many chances at all. Dave Jones’ side will come to the Second City making themselves difficult to beat and use a counter attack system to enable them to leave with three points. They’ll invite the pressure and try and take advantage of any gaps in the Blues defence, similarly to Burnley on that awful Tuesday night.
The key thing for the St. Andrews faithful will be to stay patient with Lee Clark’s young side. If Blues fail to take their chances early on we still need to get behind them because creating a hostile atmosphere is no good for anyone.
Following a Capital One Cup game with holders Swansea City and an away trip to Reading, an under pressure Steve Lomas will be the next man bringing his side to St.Andrews in search of a first away win under the leadership of the former West Ham player. A difference between playing the East London side compared to today’s visitors is that Millwall have been very poor at the back. 5 at home to Derby and 3 conceded at Ipswich suggests that we should be creating chances.
If Blues can grab a goal early in this game then I can’t see them losing, except for a bad refereeing decision or a horrendous defensive error. As with the Sheffield Wednesday game, patience is key in the stands to help the team pick up valuable points.
The third of these matches used to be a Premiership match not long ago, but a lot has changed since then. The saying goes “don’t kick a dog while it’s down”, but in the ruthless industry of football, that is exactly what we need to do on the 5th of October. Despite almost making the play offs last season,winless Bolton, as I write this, are currently bottom of the league with three points. They’ve been poor on the road, losing to Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest and recording only three victories last season away from The Reebok.
With two weeks until the game, don’t be surprised to see some new loan signings at Bolton, especially to enhance their striking options. In my opinion it will be the most difficult of the three, but if Blues had won the first two we could see a completely different side to Tuesday.
There isn’t a certain amount that we need from these games, however, we really can’t afford to come away from these fixtures without at least five points. Picking up six or more would really help us move away from the bottom three. The performances so far haven’t justified our position in the table so wins in these games would really see Lee Clark’s side move away from the relegation zone into the mid table position they should be in.
Let us hear your thoughts on the subject. How many points do we need? How many points do you think we will get?
By Oliver Osborn (The Bluenose Bible)