As we look forward to tonight’s game against Birmingham, we caught up with Blues fan and season ticket holder, Chris
As we look forward to tonight’s game against Birmingham, we caught up with Blues fan and season ticket holder, Chris Atkinson (@Stoph76). We ask about the massive influence of Gary Rowett, the Reading players that he admires, his prediction for the game, among other topics!
1. What were your expectations before the season started? Are you probably about where you would have expected to be?
Initially my expectations were probably a midtable finish or top ten maybe. However that opinion definitely changed for the worse quite quickly.
2. Now you are very much safe from relegation, what do you anticipate for next season? Similar season or possibly a play-off push?
Without a change at the top (owner and board) and investment probably about where we are now, always hope for better mind.
3. How is your ownership situation looking at the moment? Any improvement?
Who knows!? The rumour mill is constantly grinding. The last one I heard was that there were 5 interested parties but Carson Yeung has started legal proceedings to block their attempts. To be honest I won’t believe anything until it happens. The off field proceedings are turning into a bit of a soap opera that I try and ignore!
4. The job that Gary Rowett has done with Birmingham since he joined has been superb. How did he turn your season around in such a short space of time?
Gary and his back room staff have been a revelation at the club and turned us around following the Bournemouth result from what I saw as a relegation season. They are all ex-Blues players and maybe that helped, as they know the club and the fans etc. His start was amazing, first game away at Wolves who were flying at the time. I expected the worst, but they all put in a shift to take a draw and to be honest we could have taken a win in the end. Things just rolled from there with an undefeated run. It was amazing the performances he and his team were getting from in the main, the same group of players. Typically that was ended by Lee Clark’s new team Blackpool, but isn’t that always the way!
5. Which Birmingham player(s) are really excelling so far this season?
Everyone’s opinion will differ as I’m constantly at loggerheads with guys that we go to the game with but there have been a few I have been impressed with. The emergence of Dimmi Gray into the first team has been exciting. He looks as though he has the potential to be a great player. He’s young, full of running and exciting to watch. Shinnie and Cotterill have also impressed me but possibly Clayton Donaldson I would pick out (especially on current form).
6. If you could take any Reading player, who would it be and why?
As an ex Blues player Stephen Kelly, sentiment aside possibly Federici or Mackie.
7. What starting XI and shape do you expect to see from Rowett tonight?
Randolph, Caddis, Morrison, Kiernan, Grounds, Fabrini, Tesche, Cotterill, Shinnie, Gray and Donaldson. Possibly in a 4-5-1 or 4-4-1-1.
8. Prediction for the game?
Maybe not 6-1 but a Blues win (I am biased after all! 🙂 I’ll go for 2-0.