Saturday, October 31, 2009

Opposition view

Ahead of Sundays game at Birmingham I had the chance to catch up with Kev, who runs the Birmingham City blog 'Joys and Sorrows' to gage the mood ahead of the game and to pose one or two questions about how the season has been going so far.

How has Joe Hart fared this season? Would you like to sign permanently and will that happen?

On the whole I think he has done well. There are mumbles from some fans though, as he has made a few mistakes recently such as against Sunderland last weekend. On the whole though he is a positive keeper and has tremendous potential. I personally would like to see him signed permanently but I'm not sure you will let him go though.

How have you found the Prmeier League? Any surprises or disappointments so far?

I think we've had an ok start. We have had a few tough games, however we have also dropped points we shouldn't have done. As it stands we are gaining a point a game which is ok. No real surprises I guess, just confirmation that the league is now really split into four - the top four, European places, mid-table and those battling to stay up.

From what you have seen, should you stay up? Are you aiming higher?

I think there are 7 or 8 sides who could go down so we have a reasonable chance of staying up. I think the January transfer window could be key though.

What are your thoughts on the takeover? What changes do you see it bringing?

We needed a change. I wasn't one of the board bashers, however they had lost the confidence of the fans. There were lots of broken promises and very little trust. The new guys have brought a new feel to the club. They have responded to criticism regarding ticket prices by reducing the cost for the game on Sunday. They refer to the club as a 'family' - a little cheesy but a nice sentiment. It is early days but I am optimistic things are looking good.

Does Alex McLeish have the backing of the fans?

I'd say just about. He has spent most of this season making us play 4-5-1, which is fine if you have some midfielders to play that but I'm not sure we do. There were plenty of grumbles but he did change to a 4-4-2 against Sunderland and we performed well and the fans were happier.

What are your impressions of us this season? Can we challenge the top four?

I think you are showing the classic signs of a squad still bonding and therefore results like last weekend are happening when you should be winning. Having said that, you have pace, strength and skill throughout the squad.

As time goes on you will be one of the top four. I'm not sure it will be this year though - that will depend on Liverpool and if they pick up. Next season I would be confident you will get a top four spot.

Who or what will be key on Sunday?

A lot will depend on our formation but I'll give you two unsung names. Barry Ferguson is really beginning to look the part as the engine room and Roger Johnson, who has been a superb signing. The back four is far more confident and organised with him in there.

Who should we look out for?

Christian Benitez. He is getting better and better each game. He is quick, and although small he is quite strong. I am sure when he gets his first goal he will become a real key player.

Prediction for Sunday?


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