APART from enjoying Robert Earnshaw’s epic miss at Wembley, the international break has been a chance to take stock and reflect on a disappointing start for the Blues.
Personally, I find it a hugely frustrating time to have a two-week break from club football, but Paul Jewell is one man who will not have been kicking his heels waiting for the action to restart at Blackpool on Saturday.
It was a much quieter finale to the transfer window than we, or he, expected and for the Town boss the phone bill will have continued racking up as he tries to get a couple of Premier League fringe players in during the emergency loan window.
Stoke City’s defender Danny Collins looks the most likely, at the time of writing, and it is at the back where the main problems now lie, though I also believe we still need a winger, a right-back and a back-up goalkeeper. Considering we’ve brought in 11 new players already, it still looks like we’re a bit short in some areas, which is a little concerning.
But one of the things I’d like to see happen over the next few weeks is some consistency in the way we set up.
Jewell may talk about people focusing too much on systems but he is the one currently chopping and changing the formation throughout games and it can’t help settle the side. Michael Chopra is undoubtedly our key attacking weapon, but playing him up front on his own means he is often receiving the ball with his back to goal when his game is based on playing on the last shoulder of the defender and feeding off the knock-ons of a strike partner. I’m not the only one who would like to see Jewell give a 4-4-2 formation a run and see where it takes us, playing Grant Leadbitter out on the left or right has proved a disaster and I should think the skipper will be lucky to keep his place at Bloomfield Road.
Only personal terms stopped Jason Scotland moving to Ian Holloway’s Blackpool last week and rewarding his performance from the bench against Leeds could pay dividends on Saturday and hopefully reignite his stuttering Portman Road career, with the lone striker syndrome at least partly to blame.
September looks a testing month with tricky rips to Middlesbrough and West Ham following a winnable home game with Coventry and we should have a much better idea of where this season is heading after these four games - here’s hoping the disappointment of August will soon be a distant memory.