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20/21 Matchday Thread

Kenneth E End

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So another day, another opposition player saying we're going to be battling towards the bottom end of the table.

They don't learn do they? Especially with how pants Brum have been since the end of lockdown.

#teamslikeluton
 

That Fat Centre Half

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Its probably a fair assumption to be fair to the Birmingham player, that is still likely even though we have been solid thus far. At least he phrased it better than the Blackburn player last week! Dont know why they feel the need to say these things though, it probably has minimal impact overall but even if it gives the opposition a small boost, why bother?

As for the game, interesting yard stick for us tonight. Got beat twice last season by what was a pretty poor Birmingham side I thought on both occasions. I think we have improved since then and they seem to have had something of an indifferent start so it will be good to see whether that improvement is enough to overcome them this time around.

Both teams are fairly low scorers so could be a tight affair, but would like to see us pose a little bit more threat in the final third. I hope Bree, RND can start together as I really do think that could help us in that regard by getting a bit more width in our play but judging from comments im not sure he is quite ready still. Could be a bit of rotation for us but do think the lines between having a definitive first 11 and those who are back up to them as you would in a normal season are going to get very blurred with this schedule.
 

BelizeHatter

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Thats an attack minded line up by us. Back three with Pelly right mid? Or Rea in a back four with Pearson rb more likely
 

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Our starting XI tonight looks like this, and besides Rupp and Placheta probably being first choice more consistently I expect this it what it's going to look like for the next few games with our current range of injuries:

Krul (GK)
Hanley (CB)
Gibson (CB)
Aarons (RB)
Sorensen (LB)
Tettey (CDM)
Skipp (CDM)
Buendia (RW)
Stiepermann (CAM)
Martin (LW)
Pukki (STR)

Only changes from Saturday are Tettey coming in for Rupp (presumably precautionary as Rupp was a doubt for this game initially) and young Josh Martin taking Placheta's place on the left wing. Stuck with two keepers on the bench again, as well as youngsters Reece McAlear (midfielder, I think) and Tom Dickson-Peters providing additional cover on the bench (Dickson-Peters has been pulled from the Under-18s as our Under-23 striker Tyrese Omotoye is also injured currently).

Even with that, we've only been able to name 8 players on the bench rather than the maximum 9, so assuming Krul doesn't get injured all but one of our outfield subs could get some minutes tonight (potentially a fantastic opportunity for one of the two youngsters if all goes well). With that in mind, I'll gladly take a point from this one tonight.
 

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Browne back in for Potts, unchanged apart from that.

No Pearson though
:(
...really hope he hasn't inured himself again after his cameo on Saturday.

Fisher starts, no idea if he's getting suspended or not.

Youngsters Coulton & Holland-Wilkinson on the bench, seems we've got quite a few knocks to fringe players, no sign of Bodin or Harrop.

Rudd
Fisher, Bauer, Huntington, Rafferty
Browne, Ledson
Barkhuizen, Johnson, Sinclair
Riis​
 

Atavistic

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Two up with around half an hour gone, Buendia absolutely running the show and some fine work from Josh Martin in the build-up to the first. And Pukki in the goals again with an excellent volley.

If nothing else, it is absolutely crucial we keep Buendia and Pukki fit and keep this momentum going. Easily two of the best players in this league.

EDIT: And now Krul has picked up an injury. That could be disastrous if it's a long-term injury.
 
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That Fat Centre Half

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Didn’t realise Birmingham are Wycombe with a bit more cash!

Played quite well, went one down to one of those handball penalties that get given now from essentially Birmingham’s first venture over halfway. Got ourselves back level through a set piece (shock!). Played quite well but still nowhere near enough quality in the final third.
 

Kenneth E End

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Goodness me Birmingham are awful. We have had two thirds of the possession which never happens and 9 shots. Birmingham would’ve been lucky to get nil if they didn’t get a fairly flukey penalty.
 

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Agree with that, but im quite encouraged by how we are playing recently. We just need to be as quick and incisive in the last third as we are in the middle and we will click. Its close.

Be nice to go on and score early in the second half and win this as we are dominating. Need to be aware all Championship sides have danger on the counter and up the intensity in the latter part if the game later if theyve held you off. So far we've held them off reasonbly easily.
 

Kenneth E End

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Birmingham now employing the getting lost in the tunnel Wycombe trick. They are a richer version of them without doubt. Etheridge was time wasting since minute one.
 

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Oh and now Buendia's got himself sent off. Three points secured, but that is definitely not ideal regardless of how many games it means he'll miss.

And the cleansheet gone as well. Need to be careful now.

EDIT: Bottling this one completely.
 
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Joe Rafferty, you are fucking shit.

Game over, we've been awful anyway.
 

That Fat Centre Half

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Not sure id day this this season but genuinely disappointed with that point. Cant remember the last time we dominated a game like that and unfortunately we have not made sure we have got full value for it. Collins will be re-playing that missed sitter over and over again - I still cant believe he let the keeper save it.

Has to be said Birmingham were absolutely terrible but some encouraging signs at least in terms of our attacking play. Dewsbury-Hall is a top quality player, if we had a few more composed heads like him in the team we'd have won that going away.
 

Kenneth E End

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Play like that for the rest of the season and we win more than we lose. That was probably one of our best performances since returning to this level. Gutted - it would’ve been an absolute steal if Sluga didn’t make his save in injury time.
 

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We did everything we could to try and throw that away but managed to hold on by the skin of our teeth. Very, very lucky but it'll do.

Buendia had one of his idiotic moments which means he'll miss a game, and we're without Krul for sometime now as well. So, while we got the win now in the short-term, there could be problematic after-effects going forward.
 
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That Fat Centre Half

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Play like that for the rest of the season and we win more than we lose. That was probably one of our best performances since returning to this level. Gutted - it would’ve been an absolute steal if Sluga didn’t make his save in injury time.

Gutted definitely feels like the right word for it as we really should have won. Hopefully we can replicate it but we arent going to see teams as bad Birmingham too often this season. Really thought they were dreadful.
 

Kenneth E End

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Oh please, less of the hard luck Norwich stories! You have a lot more resources than the rest of us. The top three will probably be last seasons relegated clubs.

We’re 8th in the table now which is brilliant for us, but there is a lot of mid table dross in this division this year.
 

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OK point against Hudds, we’re still not adrift at the bottom, but it’s fair to say we’re creating very few clear goal scoring opportunities.

Not sure what the answer is as we’re unlikely to be able to afford a genuine Championship level striker, and if we’d wanted someone on loan we should have done it in September not January.

anyway, still a decent performance if a dull game.
 

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Awful game of football that
 

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Oh, and it turns out Pukki was subbed cos he was feeling something with his hamstring. Hopefully it's nothing too serious, but without him we have no senior strikers to work with as Farke has said he won't bring Drmic back into the fold.

Fingers crossed at this point, really.
 

Kenneth E End

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Elsewhere some Birmingham fans are claiming that a draw was a fair result last night. Not on your nelly. Perhaps if you looked at the last 5 minutes in isolation when half the Luton team were out on their feet.
 

That Fat Centre Half

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Probably remembering the last few minutes when they ventured over halfway just for a change of pace and we had run out of puff. To be fair had they one chance which Sluga saved I think fairly comfortably as was right at him. Would have been pullling out the Big Fat Joe “at least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask line” if that went in!”

We dominated the game, would have liked to have seen a bit more quality chances for that domination though, the Collins chance was a great one and he should have scored, but outside that I think our final pass let us down a few times. The space was there to exploit. Our delivery into the box could be better if I were being picky but the performance deserved 3 points.

Genuinely think Birmingham are the worst side we have played since coming back up, and I’d include an Akinfenwa-less Wycombe in that.
 

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Looked like an average Championship side with no quality up front.

Ok in defence and tidy but lightweight in midfield.

We should be better but not atm.
 

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We face Wayne Rooney’s Derby County™ for the first time in any competition at the weekend - gotta love a relegation six-pointer.

They’re somewhat in a state of turmoil at the mo, but they will of course see this as a highly winnable game - the word is that Rooney won’t be playing but will be staying in the dugout. Let’s see how it goes.
 

Kenneth E End

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Looked like an average Championship side with no quality up front.

Ok in defence and tidy but lightweight in midfield.

We should be better but not atm.
I’m bored of this woe is me in respect of Norwich and Watford - you’re not exactly doing bad at the moment, right? You have 10x the amount of resources that we do.
 

Super_horns

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Which is why people expected better performances given the squad particularly in attack we have.

The results have masked some pretty patchy performances tbh.

But as you say still up the top mainly thanks to Foster and the defence.

Sarr and co certainly away from home not really got into gear yet.
 

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I don't think validly complaining about an injury crisis that currently leaves us only just able to scrape a competent XI together is an example of "woe is me", so much as something that is fair to point out. Yes, we have more resources than a club like Luton, but that doesn't mean much at the moment when we can't use those resources until January to fill in a lot of the gaps we currently have in the squad. By all means, though, keep that chip on your shoulder about how "little old Luton" can't compete with all the big clubs, despite doing a perfectly good job of it so far this season.

And yes, we are doing very well currently and I'm reasonably confident we can maintain it, but we are in a slightly tricky position with injuries currently so our remaining games before January are a fair bit trickier than they otherwise would have been.

I'm awaiting today's press conference to see exactly what our outlook is for Coventry tomorrow. Desperately hoping Pukki is fit and able to play, otherwise there aren't a lot of goals in the side we'll have available (especially with Buendia set to miss this game through suspension).
 

BelizeHatter

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Kenny! Behave....... Dont be upsetting these other precious Prem boys. We need them to keep the Golden Shower at this level for another season or so. Until we can compete and rough em up oursleves again. Like usual, before the stupidness of The Prem gold pot.

On a serious note Atavistic wake tf up. Its not a chip. Its hundreds of millions of quid advantage. You could argue it was earned, but dont pull the its an even playing field youre doing ok routine.

We also hope Pukki and everyone else is also fit, but expect yr second and third string to do the biz too.
 

BelizeHatter

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To be fair.....this hurts...... Super Horns is OK

Some of the other fuckers on the competition board tho...... Omg you should hear them cry and whine about how shit Gray is. Sarr. Deeney. We dont have a striker. Injured here, missing there. No left back, thank god for our defense, cos our poor old 70 million quid worth of stikers cant quite deal with the horrors of this nasty league. Please take us back to the promised land. I might just cry......oh hell i am........woe us us what will we do. These nasty ruffians
 

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So, the injury prognosis from today's news conference:

Krul is out for three weeks, so presumably McGovern will deputise in the meantime. I suppose the same would be said for any team, but having to rely on our second choice for a few weeks does not fill me with confidence. Honestly, I don't think McGovern is a good enough goalkeeper for this league at all, as he has no presence in his box and is awful at coming out to deal with crosses and corners. His distribution along the floor is also a concern when we like to play out from the back, so we might be forced to play slightly more direct for the time being until Krul returns.
Rupp should be back tomorrow after his knock last weekend, but I don't get the impression he's going to be starting.
Pukki misses out tomorrow with injury, but has a slight chance of being back for Luton in midweek (though, even if he is, I wouldn't expect him to be risked starting straight away in this congested period of fixtures). That leaves us with no fit senior strikers currently. Farke has backtracked and said Drmic might have a way back into the fold if the current situation continues, but he's currently receiving treatment in Switzerland for an injury so would have to self-isolate for a while first whenever he would come back into the country.
There were concerns that Stiepermann had picked up a concussion on Tuesday night, but that's fortunately not the case and he'll be fit to play tomorrow.

The implication Farke has given is that we'll be utilising Stiepermann up front tomorrow, with Dickson-Peters as an option off the bench. With Buendia suspended and Cantwell injured, that would probably see Vrancic slot into the number 10 position. I expect the full XI will look something like this, overall:

GK: McGovern
LB: Sorensen
CB: Hanley
CB: Gibson
RB: Aarons
CDM: Skipp
CDM: Tettey
CAM: Vrancic
LW: Placheta
RW: Martin
STR: Stiepermann

While I do worry about our ability to get goals without Pukki and Buendia in the side, I'd like to think we'll still have enough to get past a struggling Coventry side. And honestly, at this point I'm more interested in seeing us consolidate our position and get through this busy period without any more injuries than the amount we've already got to deal with.
 

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