New deals don’t worry Rowett

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Owens

BIRM­ING­HAM boss Gary Rowett isn’t con­cerned about the un­cer­tain fu­tures of a host of his key per­form­ers, af­ter the Blues saw off Charl­ton to win their fi­nal home game.

The hosts had the bet­ter of a lack­lus­tre Ad­dicks side through­out, but re­lied upon Wat­ford loa­nee Lloyd Dyer to break the dead­lock from the bench eight min­utes from time.

De­spite the win, Blues fans will be aware that Dar­ren Ran­dolph, who pro­duced two ex­cel­lent saves to keep a clean sheet, is out of con­tract in July, while 18year-old at­tack­ing star­let De­marai Gray – who showed plenty of glimpses of his tal­ent – is be­ing linked with both Manch­ester City and Ar­se­nal.

Both play­ers are mulling over con­tract of­fers from the club, but Rowett in­sists he is ready for the chal­lenge of strength­en­ing his squad, come what may.

“It’s not re­ally a con­cern. I’ve never had a sum­mer as a manager where I haven’t had that un­cer­tainty,” the for­mer Bur­ton boss said.

“We’ll work very hard now to tie down as many of those play­ers as we can, and if their fu­tures lie else­where be­cause they’ve been suc­cess­ful, so be it.

“I’ll shake their hands and move on and we’ll go and get play­ers that will make us even bet­ter next sea­son, I can guar­an­tee that.

“It was very im­por­tant for us to come out in the last home game and put in a per­for­mance that was be­fit­ting of the progress we’ve made and what the fans have given us.”

With both sides safely in mid-ta­ble, there was a dis­tinctly laid-back tempo in the first half.

How­ever, Not­ting­ham For­est loa­nee Robert Tesche nearly gave the Blues the lead in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion af­ter three min­utes, only to see his fe­ro­cious long-range strike tipped onto the wood­work by Stephen Hen­der­son.

Tony Watt went clos­est for the vis­i­tors, drawing a fine stop from Ran­dolph with a left-footed ef­fort from dis­tance mid-way through the half, be­fore Tesche made Hen­der­son work again with a low shot from 25 yards.

The hosts stepped up a level af­ter the break and while Dyer had sliced a gilt-edged chance hor­ri­bly wide, the Wat­ford loa­nee was to at­tone in fine style.

He got the bet­ter of Chris Solly down the left be­fore slot­ting past Hen­der­son to en­sure Blues fin­ished their home cam­paign on a high.

Charl­ton boss Guy Lu­zon, mean­while, de­liv­ered a damn­ing ver­dict on his side’s dis­play, which he de­scribed as their worst since he took charge at the Val­ley in Jan­uary.

“I’m re­ally dis­ap­pointed with our per­for­mance,” said the Is­raeli manager.

“Some­times you can lose the game, but it’s about the way that we lost.

“It was the worst per­for­mance since I’ve been here. We played with­out pa­tience with the ball.

“We had op­por­tu­ni­ties, but it was only on the counter-attack. We didn’t have the ball, and in my view, in foot­ball, if you don’t have the ball, you do not de­serve to win.

“I re­ally don’t like this kind of per­for­mance, but next week we have the last game, and we have to im­prove and play bet­ter, be­cause in foot­ball it’s not only the re­sult.

“It’s also about the way that you play.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

PRES­SURE: On-loan mid­fielder Robert Tesche forces a good save from Charl­ton goal­keeper Stephen Hen­der­son

cel­e­brate ALL SMILES: Birm­ing­ham

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