Ev­ery­thing else must wait... top pri­or­ity is to stop rot!

Blues are in dire straits af­ter slip­ping back into the bot­tom three and must act be­fore it’s too late, says BRIAN DICK

Birmingham Post - - SPORT -

BIRM­ING­HAM City’s an­nus hor­ri­bilis con­tin­ued un­abated at Barns­ley on Satur­day where Blues lost 2-0, went for a fourth game with­out a goal and slipped back into the Cham­pi­onship’s rel­e­ga­tion zone.

It was too much for some of the 1,848 trav­el­ling sup­port­ers to bear, who vented their frus­tra­tion at their own play­ers.

It is frus­tra­tion built up over 11 months, since the sac­ri­fic­ing of a po­ten­tial play-off chal­lenge for a seem­ingly per­pet­ual strug­gle.

While the play­ers were the re­cip­i­ents, it could just as eas­ily be di­rected at any­one who has con­trib­uted to what has been an in­com­pre­hen­si­ble down­turn.

Whether it’s the turnover in man­agers, the re­volv­ing door that has seen play­ers ar­rive and leave at a stag­ger­ing rate, or the cir­cum­stances in which both of those things have hap­pened, one thing that can­not be dis­puted is the first year of the own­ers’ ten­ure has been dis­as­trous.

If there is a dis­con­nect, or in­deed sev­eral, it’s hardly sur­pris­ing. But down that road lies League One. What­ever is go­ing on off the pitch, on it Birm­ing­ham City have to go back to fac­tory set­tings.

Steve Cotterill must look around his squad and see which play­ers he trusts to give him their ab­so­lute best ev­ery day of the week and be the most re­cep­tive to what he is try­ing to do

Dur­ing his ca­reer he has shown him­self ca­pa­ble of build­ing teams and must con­struct this one around the men with whom he wants to go to war.

They might not be the most tal­ented, they might not be the old­est, youngest, high­est pro­file nor even most pop­u­lar. But they have to be united.

Though we all have an in­stinc­tive feel as to which play­ers that might be, Cotterill is bet­ter placed than any­one to judge that.

Af­ter all, the only chance Blues have of get­ting out of the bot­tom three is through hon­esty and unity – the qual­i­ties Gary Rowett utilised when he ar­rived and pressed the re­set but­ton in Oc­to­ber 2014. Those virtues car­ried Blues in­ex­orably away from dan­ger and took a lim­ited squad to quite un­ex­pected heights.

Even­tu­ally they hit a glass ceil­ing, one through which this group of play­ers have the tech­ni­cal

ac­com­plish- ment to break, but the line.

This is a time when more pro­saic, but far more im­por­tant, qual­i­ties are re­quired.

An ab­so­lute, un­stint­ing 100-per­cent com­mit­ment to res­cu­ing the si­t­u­a­tion is the bare min­i­mum. With that Birm­ing­ham City’s sea­son can be turned round and those other tal­ents can shine through. that’s way down .

With­out it, it won’t mat­ter who the man­ager is or what sys­tem he uses. Too much has changed too fast and at the mo­ment the club is go­ing round in ever-de­creas­ing cir­cles.

The an­swer to stop­ping Blues go­ing down the plug-hole lies within the play­ing squad and with the men who share the same con­cerns for Birm­ing­ham City as their sup­port­ers.

Ev­ery­thing else can wait.

> Steve Cotterill has to get Blues back to the fac­tory set­tings

> Gary Rowett

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