The Foot­ball League Pa­per says... Back Harry to keep the Blues up...

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: -

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.

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