A 2-0 defeat to Blackburn Rovers at St Andrew’s rounded off what has been a pretty miserable holiday period for Blues. Since beating Reading at the Madejski Stadium on December 9, Blues have lost five of six matches and have scored just three goals.
Friday night saw Birmingham City play out a dull 0-0 draw with fellow St Andrew’s tenants, Coventry City. In a game of few chances, Lukas Jutkiewicz came closest to scoring for Blues, hitting the bar with the ball and the post with his head. While things are nowhere near as bad as the “Project Restart” shitshow in June and July, there is a suggestion that the honeymoon period is now well and truly over for Aitor Karanka.
Defeat to Norwich City at Carrow Road on Tuesday evening extended Birmingham City’s winless run to five games. Chances were at a premium for Blues and the sending off of Adam Clayton for a second bookable offence turned out to be the prelude to the only goal of the game. Yet there are reasons that Blues fans should be patient.
Birmingham City kicked off their pre-season friendlies with a 1-1 draw against Charlton Athletic at Wast Hills. The Blues team was a mix of first team and youthful inexperience with only young keeper Zach Jeacock featured for the full 90 minutes as Blues rotated through their squad at half-time. With less than two weeks until the EFL Cup curtain-raiser against Cambridge United, can people be forgiven for worrying about the thin squad?
Aitor Karanka’s first press conference as Birmingham City head coach was an ode to “sensible, reasonable things” as both the Spaniard and Blues CEO Ren Xuandong spoke of learning from mistakes and long-term futures. Is this the start of something beautiful at St Andrew’s?
It took a while but like the Mounties, Blues CEO Ren Xuandong got his man. Birmingham City confirmed late on Friday evening that Aitor Karanka has signed a three-year deal to be the next head coach of the club. The 46-year-old Spanish coach ends an 18 month exile from management since walking out on Nottingham Forest in January 2019.
Now the dust has settled on a prolonged and difficult campaign in the Championship, it’s time once again for the Birmingham City hierarchy to look forward. With confirmation that the new EFL season begins on September 12, there are less than seven weeks until kickoff to sort out a number of issues.