After playing catch-up with the rest of the league for the majority for the season, Birmingham City have now found their true place in the league after finally catching up with the league games that had to be postponed due to Europa League commitments. After a well-fought 0-0 draw at a very snowy St. Andrews on Saturday evening against second place Southampton, whose necks Blues are now breathing down, last night saw a slightly sluggish but nonetheless deserved one nil victory against Portsmouth courtesy of a late well-taken Nathan Redmond goal.
Blues are now in a terrific position, sitting within touching distance of West Ham and Southampton with the equal best goal-difference in the league - plus 20 - a positive stat which they share with the second place Saints.
After a summer of turmoil and uncertainty, players and managers leaving the nest and administration and Carson Yeung’s trial floating overhead like a daunting storm cloud; Birmingham have once again exceeded expectations of their fans whom expected, and would have been content with, a mid-table-to-top-half finish. However, a Europa league campaign to be proud of, an unbeaten home record still intact and no losses since December 2011 paint quite a different story for the Midlands side and fans, players and manager alike can be immensely proud of the achievements so far - and all on such a shoe string budget as well.
After managing to keep a small team relatively injury free and only losing two players in Jean Beausejour and Liam Ridgewell in the January transfer window that has just slammed shut, Blues can consider this season an immense success – and it’s not even over yet. Sitting pretty in third place in the Championship, there is still a long way to go, and where Blues are concerned you know there will be twists, turns and probably a lot of surprises yet to come.
One thing’s for sure though; whatever happens at the end of the season Chris Hughton and his squad can be proud of their marvellous efforts. A team of bosman signings and ‘leftovers’ from the relegation rubble at the end of last season have shone in this league with attacking football, lots of goals and a rock solid defence.
As we enter the last few months of the season, one mistake now can spell a torrent of bad results and a swift fall down the table; yet at the same time, successive victories can push you right up there into the automatic promotion places or cement a play-off place for the time being at least. Mistakes cost dear at this time of the season; let’s hope it’s not Blues that are making them, but capitalising on the mistakes made by those around them.