Birmingham City greats deliver ‘anxious’ verdict as Blues teenager returns from loan with a bang

Welcome to today’s round-up of Birmingham City news as one of the Blues’ Championship rivals are sent back to life by signing a new striker

Rover Austin

Birmingham City are struggling at both ends of the pitch – scoring and conceding.

The defensive courage characteristic of Aitor Karanka’s first months in charge is now a distant memory, while the shortcomings in front of goal have remained unresolved all season.

Only Wycombe, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby have scored fewer than 17 Blues goals.

They have seven players who are top scorers, with just two.

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But with the transfer window open, they have the chance to mitigate that problem – and some supporters noted the impact Charlie Austin had on Queen’s Park Rangers last night.

The veteran striker was loaned by West Brom to Rangers and announced his return with a first goal, which did not escape these Bluenoses.

One said: ‘Yeah people laughed when I mentioned having Charlie Austin a few months ago and look what happens’

Added value

Birmingham City are in the bottom half of the league in terms of team value.

That’s according to website Transfermarkt who estimate the value of the 24 second-tier teams – and place the Blues 15th.

They estimate Aitor Karanka’s 28-man squad to be valued at £38.16m, well below the Bournemouth Championship leaders they have at £118.44m.

According to estimated figures, Blues players are worth more than those of Millwall, Preston. Sheffield Wednesday, QPR, Barnsley, Luton, Coventry, Rotherham and Wycombe.

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The Chairboys gambling group is believed to be worth £6.66million, almost half of Rotherham’s lowest.

The numbers are only a guide – the reality is that a player is worth what a buyer is willing to pay for him – but it could be interpreted as a measure of how the Blues perform on the pitch.

Aitor Karanka’s men have struggled over the past month and after a bright start to December they are now winless in seven games.

They are 19th in the standings, behind Millwall, Preston, Coventry and QPR.

Norwich, the current Championship leaders, are said to have a squad worth £100.49million, while second-placed Swansea are top performers with the 11th most valuable group.

The Blues’ most valuable player is said to be Ivan Sunjic, with a price tag of £4.95m. Kristian Pedersen is estimated at £3.6m and Maxime Colin at £2.52m, but Ivan Sanchez surprisingly only £720,000.

Been there, done that, wore the shirt

Birmingham City begin the second half of their league campaign at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

They do so four points above the relegation zone and have produced just five wins in their first 23 league games.

Aitor Karanka is struggling to find the right combinations to keep things tight at the back while also producing enough goal threat to add to that five tally.

We spoke to a few former Blues favorites and asked them to put their finger on what’s wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.


The dynamic midfielder played 225 games for the Blues between November 1996 and February 2002, many of them as captain and as part of the side that came close to promotion and reached the Worthington Cup final.

What have you done with them so far?

It looks disjointed, you can put your finger on form, selection, team formation, but the 11 he picks surely he thinks they’ll do a job and win five of the last 23 games don’t isn’t good enough if I’m being honest. Not good enough for a Championship team when the fans, everyone connected with the club wants them to push for promotion.

Who is it on? Director? Players?

I’ll be honest with you, I think it’s a combination of everyone. Talking about the club’s financial situation doesn’t help.

Obviously you have to give new managers time, you have to if you want success and consistency. I’m not saying tinkering but it looks like he doesn’t know his best starting XI, his best team, his best formation.

This needs to be examined and questioned.

But I’m still one of those who should be blamed on the players. Are they producers, are they doing their best, are they competitive and do they want to win for the club and get them out of this bad patch they’re in right now.

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Ready to go

Birmingham City Under-23s found their way back to winning ways with a 3-1 away win against their counterparts Hull City.

Young striker Jayden Reid scored twice for Steve Spooner’s side, while Miguel Fernandez added his fifth of the season in the development team’s first game of 2021.

The result propels them into the middle of the table with four wins and six losses in 11 games.

Reid, who made his first-team debut last season before spending the first half of this campaign on loan at Barrow, opened the scoring in the 20th minute.

He cut from the left before his deflected shot found the bottom corner of Harrison Foulkes’ net.

He could have made it 2-0 just before halftime when he rounded the Tigers keeper, but he could only shoot into the side netting.

However, he did just that eight minutes into the restart as he was on hand to bring the rebound back after Foulkes had saved from Adan George.

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