The Football League Paper says... Back Harry to keep the Blues up...
HARRY Redknapp couldn’t resist the challenge to keep Birmingham City in the Championship – and it would be foolish to back against him succeeding.
Last Tuesday’s announcement that the vastly experienced boss was taking the reins for the last three games of the season was a bombshell, but Birmingham had to act quickly after Gianfranco Zola decided to quit following the Blues’ dismal 2-0 home defeat by Burton Albion the previous day.
After a nightmare run of two wins in 22 league games, Zola fell on his sword. Birmingham’s Chinese owners Trillion Trophy Asia dropped a clanger by dismissing Gary Rowett mid-season – when the Blues were seventh in the table – and replacing him with the Italian.
Although Zola gave it his best shot, he seemed to have run out of ideas and the mood around St Andrew’s was becoming heated.
What it now needs is someone to come in and lift the players, to boost their confidence and bring some positivity.
There’s no doubt Redknapp can do that, even though today’s derby at Aston Villa will be a baptism of fire.
Yet the good news for the 70-year-old is that the Blues go into the game outside the relegation zone, following Blackburn’s failure to beat Wolves yesterday.
One win from three games will probably be enough for Birmingham to ensure safety and getting it at Villa would be all the sweeter.
But Steve Bruce’s boys will be up for it, too, and the game will have added poignancy following the death of Ugo Ehiogu in midweek.
Villa would no doubt love to win it as a tribute to their former defender and let’s hope both sides turn in a display befitting of the man.
So sad for the O’s
IT’S always a sad day when teams are relegated, but the fact Leyton Orient’s demotion has seen them slide out of the Football League after 112 years makes it all the harder to take.
From being within a shoot-out of reaching the Championship a few years ago, they are now heading out of the top 92 – and we’ve all got a good idea who’s to blame. Let’s hope the O’s can return in the near future.