The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Richard Dore

TRUST in Harry. That’s the mantra skip­per Michael Mor­ri­son wants Birm­ing­ham to adopt in their quest for a re­turn to the top flight.

The Blues were fly­ing high in seventh last De­cem­ber be­fore Gary Rowett was sacked. Then, an aw­ful run of form un­der Gian­franco Zola led to them bat­tling the threat of rel­e­ga­tion.

Red­knapp was parachuted in to pre­vent a drop to the third tier and City won their fi­nal two games of the sea­son, against Hud­der­s­field Town and Bris­tol City, to nar­rowly avoid dis­as­ter.


The last-gasp re­vival also co­in­cided with cen­tre-back Mor­ri­son’s re­turn from in­jury af­ter three months out, but it’s the pres­ence of his 70-yearold man­ager that has the cap­tain con­fi­dent of bet­ter things this term.

“We were a hard-to-beat, counter-at­tack­ing team un­der Gary Rowett and then we’ve come away from that un­der Gian­franco, and it didn’t re­ally work for us,” he said.

“Then, it was needs must for the last two or three games, re­ally, when Harry came in – do what we needed to do rather than what we wanted to do.

“So now we’ve been able to work re­ally hard on the train­ing, put Harry’s phi­los­o­phy into the team and get us play­ing and get us pass­ing. Still keep­ing that de­fen­sive sol­i­dar­ity but adding a bit more to it and get­ting a bit more possession.

“It’ll be nice to play a lit­tle bit more freely and have a bit more possession prob­a­bly, and go out and try to win games, rather than pro­tect­ing (a lead) and try­ing to catch peo­ple on the counter-at­tack.”

Now fully fit, Mor­ri­son, 29, will no doubt be cen­tral to his side’s pro­mo­tion ef­fort and is con­vinced that Red­knapp, with his wealth of Premier League ex­pe­ri­ence at Tot­ten­ham, Portsmouth and West Ham, is the right man to bring the good times to St An­drew’s.

The de­fender added: “Harry knows how to get out of the league and he’ll do what he needs to do to get the team pro­moted.

“It’s quite in­ter­est­ing ac­tu­ally, play­ing for him. I’ve got friends that are Tot- ten­ham play­ers who’ve spo­ken about him and he’s re­ally high-pro­file.

“He doesn’t take the full train­ing ses­sions, but when he steps in and talks ev­ery­body lis­tens. You’re well aware that he’s worked with Kev (Bond, as­sis­tant) and Paul (Groves, first­team coach) for a long time. There’s a lot of trust with them. They work re­ally well to­gether.

“Ul­ti­mately, if he says some­thing, you know he knows what he’s do­ing. There’s no sec­ond-guess­ing. He knows the route to suc­cess and it’s about fol­low­ing that. “I think our am­bi­tions as a club have lifted with him com­ing in. We want to be in the play­offs and he’s got ex­pe­ri­ence of get­ting teams out of the league.

“But, as much as he can be a great help, it’s about what the play­ers do. As much as he’s put us in what­ever sys­tem he wants, it’s still about the lads do­ing that on the pitch.”

The Blues lost 1-0 at Ip­swich last week­end but then thumped Harry Kewell’s Craw­ley Town 5-1 in the Carabao Cup last Tues­day with Che Adams bag­ging a hat-trick.

“We’ve let a few lads go from last sea­son, so a few com­ing in would help” added Mor­ri­son. “Maybe a few more at­tack­ing play­ers that can re­ally make a dif­fer­ence would be good.

“Squad depth makes a big dif­fer­ence af­ter Christ­mas.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

AT FULL STRETCH: Birm­ing­ham City’s Michael Mor­ri­son, left

WIS­DOM: Harry Red­knapp

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