Friday, 8 January 2016

Rival Lines: Often Partisan says the FA Cup is not a distraction

Rival Laines
Match Preview: FA Cup Third Round
Birmingham City v AFCB
Blogger Interview: Often Partisan

It has been a while since I spoke to the Often Partisan blog and it was good to catch up on Birmingham City's season. They are on a good run of late and are just outside the play-off places in the Championship so meeting them in the cup is going to be a potential banana skin, especially after the results against them last season. Gary Rowett's team need little motivation for a match with the Cherries but how does Often Partisan feel about the two sides meeting again?

CC: The FA Cup is something of a welcome break for many teams in a hectic season but what has Birmingham's record been like in recent seasons?

OP: The last couple of years we've gone out in the fourth round to Premier League opposition. Last year hurt; we came back what could have been an absolute shocker to beat Blyth 3-2; in the fourth round Gary Rowett rested Clayton Donaldson and we were stuck without him, losing 2-1.

CC: Birmingham are challenging for at least a play-off place in the Championship this season so would a run in the FA Cup be welcome or a bit of a distraction with the amount of games?

OP: The way I see it, winning is a habit - and while having a ton of games to play in a few weeks isn't great I'd rather we went into the run in with a run of wins under our belt. So it's a chance for a little bit of rotation but a distraction? Nah.

CC: Has the team many injuries at the moment?

OP: Clayton Donaldson came off at half time in the win over Brentford and looked a bit sore; Jacques Maghoma had a tight hamstring and Jon Toral wasn't fully fit. However, we should have Neal Eardley, Koby Arthur and David Cotterill back so there will be competition for places.

CC: How has the team been in terms of form at St Andrews of late and how has the Championship been for you in terms of excitement this season?

OP: Three wins on the spin at home going into this one, and looking better for it. We're a counter attacking team which isn't great for playing at home but we've been doing better of late and we're showing much more directness of late which has helped.

CC: Do you think the heavy defeats to AFC Bournemouth last season will give your players extra motivation for the game?

OP: Dunno what you're talking about, I have blocked all memory of previous games with Bournemouth from my mind. ;)

I'm not sure. Some of those players have gone and if I'm honest I think the rest will treat it as another game - same as the rest.

CC: Gary Rowett has been a real hit at St Andrews so what has he done with the team that is bringing results?

OP: Organisation. The team knows it's roles; players understand each other and what they're supposed to do. The whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.

CC: Who has been your best player so far this season?

OP: Probably Clayton Donaldson again, although I do like Maikel Kieftenbeld and I think we're starting to see the best of Jon Toral now.

CC: Do you expect Birmingham to field a full strength side in the FA Cup?

OP: No. Probably Adam Legzdins in goal, probably a couple of other changes

CC: Is there any player that you hope AFC Bournemouth rest for this game?

OP: Sadly for you guys, the ones I feared are all injured...

CC: What did you honestly think when you were drawn against the Cherries in the draw - great a chance for revenge, not them again, let's see how far we have come, if we beat them it will really give us confidence to get promotion?

OP: What did I honestly think? Kinda "meh" really - I always want us to get either someone odd away or the Villa at home - the former because it's a good trip for our fans (everyone loved Blyth) - the latter because a) I think we owe them after the League Cup and b) I think it would be hilarious to play them right now. We've moved on from the mauling of last year, we've got a better keeper - it's not as exciting as you'd think.

That being said, I will be crossing my fingers we don't have a man sent off early doors again.

CC: Thank you Often Partisan. It is a shame you have lost some memory of the match on 25 October 2015, I don't blame you. This season though the Blues have certainly impressed and if Rowett can add a striker in January a tilt at the top six has to be a good bet. No doubt Birmingham fans would like to take the place of Villa in the Premier League. Knocking a side like AFC Bournemouth out of the cup would give the Blues a lot of belief so Eddie will have to give a good motivation speech if the Cherries are not to be the victims of another Birmingham resurgence. Catch up with how Birmingham have been doing this season by visiting the Often Partisan website - winning mentality talks about the 0-8 defeat, so it's not entirely forgotten.

Transfer watch

AFCB were reported by the Pink'Un and other Norwich sites as having a £7m plus £1m add on bid for Lewis Grabban rejected.

No comments:

Post a Comment