When you lose such a big derby game it can feel like the end of the world, especially when you know you were a matter of inches away from a completely different game altogether. It could have been a real knock to the confidence and momentum built by the lads so far this season, but they have shown once again they are made of sterner stuff.
A tricky test to the Den followed the Second City derby which will always prove the be a tough test, given Millwall’s track record at home. The Blues showed real character and fight when perhaps the performance level wasn’t at the heights we’ve seen in previous games this season. They had to dig deep and came away with the 3 points against a 10 men side.
The next game was equally as difficult when you consider Preston North End were unbeaten in nine games before the visit to St Andrews. I think everyone knew it was going to be a tough afternoon and PNE would make the game as difficult as they possibly could for Birmingham in terms of breaking them down and creating clear cut opportunities. This proved to be the case in the first-half as we were left frustrated going into the break at 0-0 and it didn’t look like we were going to be able to find that crucial goal.
The turn of the half and a lot of fortune came in our favour thanks to a comical bit of goalkeeping from Declan Rudd – being megged from 45+ yards out is not something you see every day. After that the Blues upped it a gear and it was clear they’d be only one outcome for this one. It was assured thanks to excellent finishes from Jacques Maghoma and Che Adams.
This meant it was back to back wins and more importantly back to back clean sheets for Lee Camp and his defence, who shipped 10 goals in their previous four before the Millwall game.
That type of response is very inspiring to see as it comes at a crucial time in the season where the games come thick and fast. It also says a lot about the type of team Garry Monk and his back room staff have managed to build together.
If I can cast your minds back (unfortunately) to last season when we lost to them lot in B6 last season, it started a losing run of seven games on the bounce and the demise of Steve Cotterill. Now there’s not really a huge difference in the personnel regarding the players from last season, so once again it just shows how well Garry Monk and the rest of the coaches have done to get this team being competitive again.
We now have a full week of rest and preparation for the visit of Bristol City and then two away days in Lancashire (Blackburn and Wigan) to look forward to. This also is a huge opportunity to add to our already impressive points tally and head into the festive period with a lot of confidence and belief that we can battle it out at the top end of the table.
The new year will bring a January transfer window that we won’t be hugely active in due to the fact we’re only allowed to sign one more player (under certain conditions) and more importantly the outcome of Birmingham’s punishment from the EFL.
This is why we need to go into the new year full of confidence and as many points as possible – just in case they do decide to throw the book at us, which knowing the Blues will be the most likely outcome.
You’d like to think Birmingham could take between 10-15 points with the games we have before the turn of the year and that would leave us in great stead should a points deduction not come into play. It’ll also leave us in a much better position if a deduction was the case, as we wouldn’t have as much ground to make up. Either way you have to admit the next five games are a crucial part to Birmingham City’s season, so let’s meet them head on and show everyone what being Blues is about.
Enjoy your week everyone and Keep Right On!
Picture Credit: Garry Monk