BCFC: Squad Analysis

It’s been quite a busy transfer window for Blues so far, with eight signings having been made this summer. Judging by social media there is still an appetite for more from many Blues fans – and Lee Bowyer has hinted that he’d like to bring a couple more in. I wanted to look at how much space there was in the squad for more signings and maybe get a hint of who has to go.

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As is normal for a sticky beak like myself, I’m looking at the squad from a regulatory angle rather than a tactical one. If you’d like to read more about how Blues are set up in that manner, then I’d recommend the excellent Blues Breakdown and Blues Analytics on Twitter.

As was the case last season, Blues are allowed to register no more than 25 first team players, of whom at least eight have to be “home grown”.

“Home Grown” means a player who has (irrespective of nationality or age) has been registered with his current club OR any other club registered with the FA or the Football Association of Wales for a period of three seasons prior to his 21st birthday.

EFL regulation 43.9.2 states that under 21 players do not have to be registered in the 25 man first team squad; for this season that means any player who was born on or after January 1, 2000. The exception to this rule is players who are at the club on loan. These players have to registered as part of the 25 man squad regardless of age.

I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of players for a couple of seasons now which can be viewed by tapping this link.

Right now, Blues have 27 players who need to be registered as first team players to play in the squad next season. This means that Blues are currently two players over the limit and would not be able to register them as it stands.

There is still time to move on players, and it’s for this reason that I believe that Fran Villalba will more than likely go out on loan again.

However, if it’s not possible to do so then two players are going to end up twiddling their thumbs for the next few months – something Adam Clayton appears to be doing already based on the fact he wasn’t in training when Brian Dick wrote this piece.

Of those 27 players, no less than 20 are considered “Home Grown”. This is good because not only does it mean that the club easily meet the squad requirement, but the club should easily be able to meet the requirement under regulation 33.8 to name seven “Home Grown” players on the team sheet for each game.

There is also a requirement under regulation 33.11 that:

“…each Club shall be required to nominate at least one Club Developed Player on their Squad List on each occasion that it is due for submission, or on their Team Sheet of Players for all League Competition Matches (including Play Off Matches). Where any Club does not name a Club Developed Player on the Team Sheet, that Club will only be permitted to name up to six substitutes on that League Team Sheet (rather than the seven as permitted by Regulation 33.4).”

The EFL regulations define a Club Developed Player as

‘Club Developed Player’ means a Player who has been registered with the relevant Club for a minimum of 12 months prior to the end of his Under 19 Season (as determined in accordance with the Youth Development Rules).

This appears to be slightly different from last season, where if Blues named a Club Developed Player in the first team squad, they didn’t have to name one in the squad for each game. From checking the squad list regulations there is nothing in there this year about having to name any Club Developed Players in the 25 player first team squad.

By my reckoning, Blues have nine players who had first team numbers currently who count as “Club Developed”.

These are Connal Trueman, Charlie Lakin, Odin Bailey, Zach Jeacock, Adan George, Caolan Boyd-Munce, Nico Gordon, Kyle Hurst and Tate Campbell; Ryan Stirk would be the 10th but has departed on loan to Mansfield Town for the season.

I’m expecting at least a couple more of the above named players to depart on loan which would reduce further the number of Club Developed Players that Blues could choose from, In turn this shows how important it is going to be for Blues to improve the pathway from the under-23 team to the first team.

It’s going to be interesting to see how things shake up in the final few weeks of the transfer window, but for once it does feel that Blues have got the majority of things sorted early. Hopefully that will have a positive effect on the season ahead and we’ll get to look at the right end of the table for a change as the season progresses.