Who Stays and Who Goes? Part Two2
March 28, 2015 by bluenosebible
By Tom Giles
Despite criticism from some supporters he has undoubtedly helped us gain a lot of points during his time at the club. He is an excellent shot stopper and often pulls off unbelievable saves. He makes the odd howler as every keeper does but he has certainly gained us more points than he has cost us. Rowett deliberately waited until after the January transfer window to begin new contract talks with the Irish keeper to see if there was any interest from the Premier League but as no offer was made for the Irishman the manager has recently offered him a new contract, whether he accepts it is another matter. However, Randolph has recently indicated that he would be happy to stay and I think most Blues fans would be happy for him to sign a new deal too.
The man from Gateshead is one of the hardest working players you will see on a football pitch, while hard work shouldn’t be something that marks a player out above others, in modern football it unfortunately does. Novak was Birmingham’s top goalscorer in the 2013/14 season despite being played on the left hand side. Unfortunately for him he will always be associated with former manager Lee Clark due to where he comes from and his previous connections to Clark at Huddersfield Town. However, Rowett clearly admires Novak as can be seen from him starting some recent games ahead of Wes Thomas. Novak’s bullish physique and goal scoring ability should earn him a new contract at St. Andrews which I would agree with.
Has there ever been a player at Birmingham that has divided opinion more than Zigic? I doubt it. I believe a lot of the criticism he receives is because of the ridiculous £60k p/w wages he was on up until the end of last season. However, it is not his fault and he would be foolish to turn down such money. When he re-signed for the club in December 2014 there were some groans from the fans but he is a cult hero at the club and his 6 ft 8″ height causes defenders to panic when he is amongst them, usually resulting in them fouling him although the decisions are rarely given due to the Serb’s physical stature. As much as I like Zigic there is a time when players have to move on and if he scores a couple of goals before the end of the season he will have done his job. I cannot see Zigic being handed a new contract and at the age of 34 I can see him retiring in Birmingham, where his family is settled, rather than journeying around various European Leagues.
Gavin Gunning – one year option
Gunning was signed by previous manager Lee Clark after an impressive season for Dundee United in the Scottish Premier League. However, the Irishman’s first season at St. Andrews as been somewhat of a disaster. Sidelined for most of it with a knee injury so it has been impossible to judge the centre half. He is still only 24 so the one year option is contract should be taken up, allowing him to prove himself next season if he can stay injury free.
When Doyle has stepped in he has never let the side down. Birmingham fans have said he lacks ambition by not leaving the club and finding regular football elsewhere. However, it is important to remember that he has had family issues that have stopped the goalkeeper from moving in recent years. Some things are much more important than football. I imagine a new contract will be agreed and it would be good for Blues to keep hold of him.
Arrived with a reputation of scoring a lot of goals in Non-League with Mansfield Town which led to them getting promoted. He scored a few goals in his early Blues career but a severe knee injury has meant he has not had any playing time for nearly two years. I personally would offer him a one-year contract just to see if he can fully recover from his injury and become the goalscorer that his potential showed and then review it again at the end of the 2015/16 season.
The central midfielder has recently been recalled from Lincoln City where he had played alongside goalkeeper Nick Townsend. Rowett recalled him as he felt his development would be better served playing in Blues U21 games and training in and around the Birmingham first team. Rowett clearly sees Adams as a hot prospect for the future and no doubt will be offering him a new contract, clearly the right decision.
Demarai Gray (extension to his contract)
Gray has grown into one of the hottest young prospects outside of the Premier League and was the subject of several bids from Championship high flyers Bournemouth in January. Another success from the Blues academy that has produced some exciting talent in the last couple of years. Gray has impressed Bluenoses this season with his excellent dribbling ability and his quick acceleration. However, he probably has played too many games this season and this has arguably been to the detriment of his development as the Blues squad lacks decent options on the left hand side.
It is vital to tie Gray down to a new deal so that we can keep the local starlet for a few more years whilst the club is rebuilt and that when the inevitable sale comes then the club can command a higher price for him. Getting this deal done is vital for the short and long term future of the club.
Who would you give a new contract to for next season?
I would let go (contract up) or look to sell: Eardley, Novak, Packwood, Duffy. Doyle and others to sign new deal. Robinson to focus more on coaching, I doubt if he will play much next yr. I think we should sign Kiernan to play with Morrison. Gunning as bk up. Grounds & Hancox at LB. Caddis & Spector at RB. Gleeson, Davis, Brown, Reilly, Adams to fight for middle 2 positions. Add Tesche or a quality ball winner. Outwide we’ve got Gray, Arthur, Cotterill. Look to introduce Soloman but I do feel we need a left footed wideman. Shinnie needs competition in the number 10 role. Preferably I would like to see Brown unless Fabrini comes off. Up top we require 2 strikers that can finish. Donaldson has done well but how many chances has he missed? Thomas hasn’t been given much of a chance but from what I saw of him last yr and early this season, is he really good enough? Zigic hasn’t really come off this yr but his always worth 1 more yr as a plan B. I’m not sure if Green is the type of player to play on his own?
Gray should have been sold for the £5 million offered and we’d be lucky to get £2 million in the summer.
If things get worse with Yeungs interference then others too will have to be sold like Randolph if he re-signs.
Cotterill, Donaldson, Shinnie or Morrison may also have to be sold if things with the idiots ruining the club don’t improve.
Don’t expect any players of note coming in as the ceiling of £5k per week will, by and large have to stay in place now the parachute payments have stopped.
Until E&Y sort out BIHL we are stagnant, just waiting for the next surprise and infighting, how can the club budget when the situation is constantly changing and surprises around every corner.