From my Birmingham Mail column Weds Oct 24th 2018
Could this be the season our clubs have a right good go at promotion from the Championship to the Premier League? As it stands at time of writing this column (Tue23rd) West Brom were in third place just one point away from top spot. Villa were 13th 3 points away from 5th place while Blues were 4 points away from 5th place. With 33 games to go and 99 points to play for who’s to say they won’t all be in the promotion mix come May.
And all will make their attempt in different ways. The Baggies have a potent strike force who score lots of goals and that will definitely be crucial in who finishes in the automatic places. Having said that they will have to tighten up defensively having conceded more goals than any other team in the top half of the table.
Blues have the 4th best defensive record in the division behind Middlesbrough, Swansea and Leeds United conceding just 16 goals in their 13 games. However they have drawn 8 games, more than any other team in the championship. They will have to convert more chances along with the same mean defence to have a realistic chance of competing for the playoffs.
Of course on the back burner at the moment is the EFL disciplinary hearing they have to attend to answer charges re profit and sustainability having made more losses than the permitted 39 million pounds over three years. Rather than strikers, defenders, injuries or referees it will probably be the EFL who will possibly have the biggest say in whether Blues are in the playoff mix or not.
Villa with new man Dean Smith at the helm and the potential and wealth to make some quality signings in January are always a threat attacking wise but definitely need to tighten up defensively if they are to be serious contenders.
They have great quality in attack but need the same quality in the defence. All three have managers/Head Coaches who know the game and more importantly will know exactly what they need or need to do to keep alive their hopes aims and ambitions.
There is no reason why all three local teams cannot be in the top six places come when the season ends but I suspect every team from 1st to 18th is saying the same thing in this most competitive of leagues.