Thursday, 16 August 2012

Battle Stations

I am currently working my way through Antony Beevor's brilliant "Second World War." It's a great read and whilst I have read my fair share on this (and most other wars), it never ceases to amaze me that the world returned to normality so relatively quickly. It also serves to remind you once again of the frailty of both life and of the stability in the world order that we have all taken for granted all our lives. A bit of history is great for giving you a touch of perspective, in much the same way as when someone you have known well passes away. Reading it whilst sitting in the baking heat of Cyprus with a cold beer and fresh food to hand probably only exacerbates the effect.

Ironically then, in between chapters I am preoccupied with our first league game of the season and the test that awaits us at St. Andrews. I find myself compromised over the result. Birmingham have a great home record and they generate a terrific atmosphere at home which can unnerve players unused to it. Some of ours might find it hard going. The Blues have had a few problems of their own this year in terms of their Boardroom but the financial embargo on transfers was lifted and I am guessing they shelled out more for Darren Ambrose than we could afford to spend on several players. 

Birmingham have been scoring well in pre-season and hit five against Plymouth and Bury before repeating the feat in the League Cup against Barnet on Tuesday. They have some big names in midfield and attack (Ambrose, Lovenkrands and Marlon King) so we will need to keep our concentration early on and avoid any silly mistakes. If we are to get anything from the match, I believe we will need to see the best from Yann Kermorgant and Bradley Wright-Phillips.

I am expecting a familiar starting eleven as CP acknowledges the contribution of last years Champions; Hamer, Wiggins, Taylor (if Cort unfit), Morrison, Solly, Jackson, Hollands, Stephens, Wagstaff, Kermorgant and Wright-Phillips. I believe we are back to seven subs this season, so that should include pretty much everyone else.

My head is telling me we could be well beaten by a Lee Clarke side who will be one of the front-runners but the heart is saying we might just send an early reminder to this division that we ran away with League One last year and that our intact side is good enough to battle it out in the Championship. So 3-0 Blues or 0-1 Addicks.

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