NAKED AMBITION AT BIRMINGHAM
Clark plot to solve home run
BIRMINGHAM fans will be hoping they get to see the right sort of home streak after boss Lee Clark raised the haunting prospect of appearing naked on the sidelines at St Andrew’s.
A Federico Macheda-inspired charge saw Clark’s side came back from a goal down to leapfrog fellow relegation outsiders Doncaster, who had not lost at home since Boxing Day.
By contrast, just two of Birmingham’s 11 wins this season have come at home, a state of affairs that Clark believes must be psychological.
And in an effort to reverse the St Andrew’s curse, Clark is threatening to bare all!
He said: “We’ve got top six form, I think, away from home, and we’re bottom of the table at home, so that’s it in a nutshell.
“I’ve got to say as a manager that I’ve tried everything: sports psychologists, different types of training methods, training at the stadium.
“I’ve tried different suits, I’ve worn a tracksuit – I might have to go naked, but not many people would want to see that nowadays, I tell you.
“I think that’s four games away from home since the turn of the year – Blackpool, Millwall, Charlton and Doncaster – where we’ve taken maximum points where we needed to.
“It wasn’t looking great at half time, with us 1-0 down and the other results going against us, but the players came out and put in a terrific second-half performance in all aspects of the game.”
Doncaster had the better of a rather tentative first half and deservedly led at the break thanks to Paul Quinn, who scored only his second goal for the club on the second attempt from a set play.
Chris Brown ought to have doubled the half-time advantage, but his good header from David Cotterill’s cross was well saved by Darren Randolph.
Regardless, Birmingham were poor enough in the first half that Rovers could reasonably expect to go on to record their first win over the Blues in 60 years. But they failed to consolidate their advan- tage after the break, presenting Randolph with only one notable save to make – a Lucas Neill header – before collapsing altogether.
Rovers left-back James Husband must shoulder the blame for City’s first, giving the ball away to Macheda in a dangerous position before the Italian found Sam Johnstone’s bottom corner.
Lee Novak will claim Birmingham’s second after racing onto a through ball and squeezing an agonisingly slow shot past Johnstone, but it was Quinn who had the final touch as he desperately tried to clear off the line.
Still Donny failed to repsond and Macheda put the result beyond doubt 12 minutes from time, steering Tom Thorpe’s header into the six yard box into the top corner from Paul Robinson’s set piece. Rovers substitute Theo Robinson should have made the scoreline respectable in injury time, but inexplicably fired his shot straight at Randolph from point-blank range.
Doncaster boss Paul Dickov said:“I think you have to say it was a self-inflicted defeat.We came in at half time 1-0 up without really playing as well as we have done recently.
“If you’re going to give away goals like we did through individual errors you’re going to struggle to win games at any level, never mind in the Championship.
“All three goals, from our point of view, are disappointing, because defensively we’ve been really sound recently and it was individual errors that cost us.
“We know from recent form that we’re a good team, and especially at home, and we need to get back to that as quick as we can.
“We’ve got six massive games left and we’re still sitting in a decent position at the minute. It could be a lot worse.”
THREE AND EASY: Federico Macheda, left, celebrates the Blues’ third goal