Date:Tuesday April 4 2006
Managers fear BLUES
Sam Alladyce and David O’Leary share a fear of Blues as tonight Steve Bruce’s boys go into their next must win game. Sam is fearful that by beating his best mate’s injury hit team he may send them down. The former Leeds manager O’Leary fears that the Derby on Easter Sunday will be his last. Defeat for the City’s other team may see him shown the door. Even a win and a dance across the pitch to blow kisses to his ailing Chairman may not be enough to save him.
Tonight’s match up with Bolton is our game in hand, or at least it was until Pompey had their game with Arsenal called off. Whether or not that benefits Portsmouth remains to be seen. London clubs have developed the habit of doing Harry Redknapp’s boys ‘favours’ of late. Arsenal could follow West Ham’s example by fielding a weak side as cup matches loom. Or they could follow Fulham’s example by just capitulating.For Blues sake Arsenal need to be still battling for the fourth spot. Juventus could help by knocking them out of Europe and forcing them to return via a league place.
All these circumstances will count for nothing unless Blues can reopen the goals for column and win at least four of the remaining games. A win tonight will take Blues out of the bottom three. That line has been repeated every week for five months and Blues have not managed it. Saturday’s performance against the Pensioners, (not the Blues) while highly creditable actually dropped Brum down a place.
Tonight will see the return of one or two players. Apart from Upson and Jarosik who will go straight back in Steve Bruce will be tempted to leave the likes of Sutton, Melchiot, Izzet, Dunn and Lazaridis on the bench so they can see the commitment at first hand. Bruce needs to get the wounded troops fired up as the players were on Saturday.
Will he co for the commitment of Tebily over that of Melchiot? Mario’s commitment has never been doubted in spite of his contract situation. He tries too hard and often when a bone crunching tackle is needed the Dutchmen will indulge in elaborate show boating. Sutton fully fit is vital to the cause but he has not been so endowed since he arrived. Izzet and Lazaridis cannot complete two games with out something giving way. Such is the lot of the aging footballer.
Tonight will be a battle, a battle that will be made that much easier with a goal or two. Who ever is given the nod up front and whatever formation is utilised the pressure is on. Seven games to go, maybe twelve points required. That means Blues must find a dozen goals at least from somewhere. That’s a strike rate double that of the previous season.
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