Twenty-six games into the Championship season, and Birmingham City have just completed their 36th match. The Championship is unquestionably a long and protracted year, but the Blues aren’t stopping there; they’re challenging on all fronts. Last night’s F.A.Cup victory against Wolves at Molineux means that yet another game will be added to Birmingham’s fixture calendar, however, this is being savoured rather than shunned by the players and fans alike.
In terms of the victory last night, there were a number of positives that were taken from the game. First and foremost, we’re into the next round of the F.A. Cup. With its history and prestige, it’s an honour to still be in the competition, but above that, it’s really exciting! The Blues and their entourage will be travelling to Sheffield United for the fourth round with an appetite for victory in their mouths with the belief that they can make the 5th round. It’s always satisfying (in all senses of the word), to “get one over” on your local rivals, especially in their back yard. Wolves were outplayed, although that wasn’t too challenging, and hopefully this will add to their woes and help to see them relegated back to the Championship. Chris Hughton had shuffled his pack, making a number of changes to the squad in order to rest some more regular starters, but this didn’t hinder the Blues as they came away victorious. This gives added hope to the fringe-players and simultaneously more options for Hughton, whose belief in the ability of his squad must be growing every week.
Chris Hughton has been talking recently of a “winning mentality” within the Blues camp, and that can certainly be seen in terms of recent results. Just one defeat in the last ten fixtures, and unbeaten in the last seven, Birmingham now lie in 7th, two points behind 6th placed Hull. It was a massive relief to win the first of our two games in hand over our rivals, 2v1 at St. Andrews against Ipswich Town. This propelled Birmingham up the table, and was followed by the 6v0 away drubbing of Millwall. This has not simply put us in a healthy position in the Championship (still with that game in hand), but has also enriched our goal difference to +13, which corresponds to 4th best in the league. Encouraging results against West Ham and Crystal Palace have only added to this “winning mentality” which seems to be pulling the Blues through each game.
There are options in the goalkeeper department, with Colin Doyle knocking on the door after an impressive few performances (including two clean sheets). Jordan Mutch, the highly-rated youngster, is back from injury, whilst Nathan Redmond is still proving very fruitful for a 17 year old. Let’s just hope that Manchester City don’t come in with a bid that will invariably set back his career. Nikola Zigic has finally started scoring goals again, which can only be a plus, whilst nobody wants to buy Liam Ridgewell, which hopefully illustrates to him that he’s no better than Birmingham City Football Club.
A game in hand, two points off the play-off positions, in the very capable hands of Chris Hughton. Birmingham’s promotional credentials are growing by the day.