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By Darren Porter
Last updated : 29 November 2006

It's time to pat ourselves on the back. We have created a monster. And it's great. After defeats to Leeds and Luton away and the home disaster against Norwich the fans and pundits alike left Bruce in absolutely no uncertainty that the next defeat would be his last in charge of our beloved Blues.

At the time I stated that I would love Bruce to be in charge at the end of the season if this was the case as that would mean we had gone the rest of the season undefeated and promotion was a certainty. The backlash from October was justified. Bruce tried to claim otherwise by pointing to the league table but as fans we knew that things were wrong and the team were failing badly. There was no cohesion, no confidence, no leadership and no entertainment. It had been a long time since we were fun to watch.

Apparently after the Norwich match the players had a ‘clear the air' meeting. I have no idea what was said but it worked. The fans showed at Coventry that given something to cheer about they would be there in their thousands and would back the team. There are not many clubs that will go to Derby, Coventry, Plymouth and Burnley and win. And certainly not consecutively anyway. Those teams are not at the bottom of the league.

So what has changed? Has Bruce suddenly found the tactics manual that Bowen left behind? Has DJ become Churchillian? Has Bendtner found McSheffrey? Has McSheffrey found Bendtner? Have the players discovered the lost tribe of midfielders and started passing through them rather than over them?

It would be churlish and unfair to merely claim that the opposition has been weak and they are exactly the sort of teams we should be putting to the sword. Even if they are. Teams in this division fight and scrap for the points and anyone departing it deserve to, regardless of which end it is.

There are some niggling faults still that irritate now rather than annoy. It is frustrating that we haven't scored more than two goals in a home league game yet. The tactic of holding on to a one nil lead at home is wrong and needs changing. Don't get me wrong, with five minutes to go, make three substitutions, all defensive and take the ball to the corner flag but we seem to start defending from the outset of the second half and invite the opposition to get back into the match. This modus operandi results in at least one decent chance and normally an equaliser. Leicester and Wolves.

These criticisms though are meant to be taken constructively. The attacks on Bruce were the result of frustration and he was wrong to view it as personal and to insult the supporter's dissatisfaction as obscene. We all want the best for the Blues and can see clearly from the terracing how things are turning out. Perhaps this is why so many managers like to sit high up early on and assess the game.

Burnley taking such an early lead showed the character that now runs through the team that they got back into the match so quickly and went on to grab a winner when previously it would have been the strategy to defend the point.

Bendtner's goal was fortuitous in that it was the best pass he received in a long time. Burnley defenders beautifully combined via their rears to set him free and the young Dane makes no mistake from that range. There is nothing wrong in his selfish desire to score as many goals as possible. We have needed an out and out greedy striker for years and as time progresses and he gains experience no doubt his shot selection will improve and create opportunities for the other players. Don't fret Gary, he will pass to you soon.

The winning goal was another cracker. The Burnley keeper's clearance found DJ Campbell still running onto the pitch and the ball went into the net off his thigh/ hand/ groin/ spuds/ hampton. Who cares? DJ certainly didn't.

So the poor hotpot Brummie wannabes skulked back to their terraced homes for dripping sandwiches, stewed tea, whippets, pigeons, and saying eebahgum. I'm joking by the way before the Burnley fans launch a fatwa on my candy ass. Don't be so sensitive. It's a little like saying all Brummies are thick because of the way they speak. By the way I am typing this slowly so you northerners can read it easier.

The defeat to Southampton was not a surprise, we all knew one was coming. We just didn't know it was going to be a seven goal Hollywood thriller. The comeback against Burnley showed character and the players can certainly take an awful lot of credit for coming back against the Saints from three goals down so early on. Apart from the shambolic defending I would imagine the dressing room was quite a positive place on the south coast. Take the plus points, build and learn from the bad and we won't be far away at the end.

Plymouth at St Andrews means that we have entered the home straight as we start to play clubs for the second time. A victory at their place will have the Pilgrims hungry for revenge but there is only one way for the Blues to bounce back from their first defeat in eight games.

Keep right on. It would be nice for the home fans to see seven goals. Preferably not by Liverpool though!

Birmingham City Match Reports

Sky Bet Championship Wed 22nd November 19:45

Middlesbrough - - - Birmingham City

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