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Football League Focus: Keith Andrews blogs on Birmingham's horror result

Football League blogger Keith Andrews gives his verdict on what Gary Rowett needs to do to keep Birmingham in the Sky Bet Championship.

As part of ourfocus on the Sky Bet Football League, Watford midfielder Keith Andrews blogs on the turmoil at Birmingham and the ever-competitive nature of the Championship, with just five points separating the top 10 sides.

Turmoil at Birmingham

The standout result from the weekend's action was Bournemouth’s 8-0 rout of a Birmingham City side that is in dire need of leadership both on and off the pitch.

This was Birmingham City’s worst home defeat for over 130 years, and there’s little surprise that the fans have had enough of the Carson Yeung reign as owner of the club. He was jailed in March of this year for six years for laundering 55million through his bank accounts in China, Hong Kong and Macau.

When they were relegated from the Premier League in 2011 they acclimatised quite well to life in the Championship by finishing fourth in the league while also juggling a Europa League campaign, but since then it’s been a struggle as financial restraints have become a constant obstacle in their pursuit of promotion.

They stayed up by the skin of their teeth on the final day of last season, and although they were optimistic they could build on that this season, in reality it was always going to be a struggle.

Lee Clark has had a very tough tenure at St Andrew’s and Saturday’s result just shows what can happen when turmoil off the pitch comes to a head. This was a real low point for the proud Blues fans. They are a very passionate group of fans and I’ve always enjoyed playing there, despite the slightly hostile reception due to my history at other Midlands clubs.

Gary Rowett is a choice that the fans will be happy about. He was a crowd favourite in the two seasons he had there as a player in the late '90s. He has cut his teeth very well at Burton Albion, firstly as an assistant and thereafter taking charge in 2012. He will probably bring all his back room staff of Kevin Summerfield, Mark Sale and Kevin Poole with him to St Andrew’s and they too have all played for Birmingham.

It’s going to be a very tough job for him, and his aim this season has to be purely one of survival because if they did drop into League One it would be a disaster. It will be a fine line between him trying to stamp his own style on the team and how they currently already play but also getting results in the process.

His Burton side have played a nice brand of football but he is taking over a group of players whose confidence will probably be at an all-time low. He may well have to keep things relatively simple - in the short term at least - and just get the players’ morale up and get them back to enjoying it on a daily basis. Inevitably players perform better when they have smiles on their faces.

Competitive Championship

Having drawn against Bournemouth a few weeks back, live on Sky at Vicarage Road, I said then how impressed I was with them. Eddie Howe has them playing some very good football and they have some incredibly talented individuals within their team. It’s no surprise to see them sitting fourth in the table, and they now have a nice goal difference after Saturday’s demolition of Birmingham.

The League table shows just how competitive the Championship is this season as five points separate Derby County at the summit to Ipswich Town down in 10th place. Nottingham Forest were sitting pretty at the top of the league not so long ago after a very impressive start, but even after seven winless matches they are still only three points off the top and one point off the play-offs.

Normally by this stage of the season one or two sides have pulled away a little bit at the top of the league but I’m not sure that’s going to happen this year as there doesn’t seem to be a lot between the teams. Having played Middlesbrough on Saturday at the Riverside it was clear to see how well organised they are as a team, and they have some gifted players who are capable of winning matches on their own.

We are happy enough with the start that we have made but still feel we are capable of kicking on again. We have had to deal with a lot of injuries in recent weeks but results and performances have remained consistent. We have good strength in depth and the group is very determined to achieve something this season. Collectively we recognise it’s a very good opportunity for us.

With Capital One Cup action this week we can spend a little bit more time on the training pitch before we kick off another hectic week’s action with Millwall visiting us on Saturday afternoon.


Headlines for Watford this week

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  • Football League Focus: Keith Andrews blogs on Birmingham's horror result


  • Football League blogger Keith Andrews gives his verdict on what Gary Rowett needs to do to keep Birmingham in the Sky Bet Championship.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Troy Deeney strike earns Watford a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough


  • Troy Deeney cancelled out Kike's opener as Watford drew 1-1 with fellow high-flyers Middlesbrough in their Championship clash at the Riverside.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Aitor Karanka beaming after Middlesbrough's draw with Watford


  • Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka was beaming after a deserved 1-1 draw at home to high-flying Watford.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Watford boss critical after Forest hit back to claim draw


  • A frustrated Slavisa Jokanovic felt his Watford side played with their hearts rather than their heads after letting the lead slip twice in a 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Watford held by Nottingham Forest at Vicarage Road


  • Watford were knocked off top spot in the Sky Bet Championship as Nottingham Forest came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road.

  • Keith Andrews blogs on managerial changes at Watford, Bolton and Cardiff


  • Football League Focus blogger Keith Andrews gives his thought on a successful weekend for new managers at Watford, Bolton and Cardiff.

  • Sky Bet Championship: Watford won 3-0 at Sheffield Wednesday to go top of the table


  • Watford won 3-0 at Sheffield Wednesday in Slavisa Jokanovic's first game in charge to move top of the Sky Bet Championship. .

  • Sky Bet Championship: Slavisa Jokanovic praises table-topping Watford


  • New Watford boss Slavisa Jokanovic believes his Watford side are good enough to stay at the top of the table following their comfortable 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

  • Championship Chat: Lennon to lift Bolton


  • James Dixon discusses Neil Lennon's appointment at Bolton, hails the league's youngsters and singles out Leeds United's Lewis Cook for praise.

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