February 16, 2016 by Shane Ireland
By Luke Turner
Taking the home fixture against Leeds out of the equation which is yet to be re-arranged, Blues face Bolton, QPR and Hull in their next three matches.
Each of these three teams will provide a different challenge for Rowett’s Blues. Hull are favourites for promotion, Bolton are destined for the drop and QPR are sitting in mid-table mediocrity.
Starting with the Bolton game next Tuesday evening, for me it is a must win game. We could already be six points off the play offs before then due to Sheffield Wednesday and Derby playing on Saturday.
If they were to win then that could psychologically have an effect our players which would put even more pressure on them to win.
The fans will be expecting nothing other than a victory against Neil Lennon’s side who currently sit rock bottom.
We must find a way through their defence and not let their approach stop us from what we can and must do.
In our last three games we haven’t created enough chances and when the best ones have come along, we failed to convert.
I also wouldn’t underestimate Bolton. They pegged back Brighton twice before eventually losing 3-2 on the weekend which shows they are up for the fight and need to be considering their league position.
We then travel to the capital to face Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s QPR side who are quite simply massively under performing.
It hasn’t gone quite to plan for Hasselbaink since he moved from League One table toppers Burton Albion but there is no doubt that his side have quality.
They have won just twice in his first 13 games and are turning out to be the draw specialists with seven of those ending level.
Blues will be supported by yet another sold out away end and I’m confident that the 3,000 Blues fans will roar the team to victory.
It is important that we get back to winning ways on the road after failing to score in the last two against strugglers Bristol City and Rotherham.
Getting points on the board against Bolton and QPR will put us in a great position heading into a tough game against leaders Hull City.
The Thursday night fixture live on Sky Sports will no doubt prove very difficult for Blues as Hull are a side oozing with Premier League quality.
Steve Bruce managed to hold onto most of his team that got relegated last season and they are looking very good for automatic promotion.
In the reverse fixture, The Tigers comfortably won 2-0 and, it’s fair to say, they had too much for Blues on the day.
It will be a difficult assignment for Rowett and his players and I won’t really go into the game expecting anything.
The game gives us an opportunity to go out and express ourselves in front of the cameras but we will have to stop the likes of Abel Hernandez, Tom Huddlestone and Robert Snodgrass if we are to get anything from the game.
Hull have the ability to beat any team in the Championship due to their far superior squad which is the best in the league.
Following the conclusion of these next three fixtures, we will be able to see if we have kept up with the pace of those above us.
Dropping more points, particularly against Bolton and QPR, could be quite costly especially as Cardiff City are quietly creeping up behind us.
The excellent form of Sheffield Wednesday is a worry but the recent change in Derby County’s fortunes gives Blues the chance to take advantage.
I didn’t expect that we’d be in this position at the start of the season but there is no reason why we can keep plugging away, picking up results and then we will see where that leaves us.