This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
So close, but still a little bit to go.
Having suffered an injury against Stoke City back in September, Birmingham City have been without their deadline day signing Jefferson Montero.
Whilst he has been making efforts to get back as soon as possible, this weekend’s game against Leeds looks to be a game too early for him.
Speaking in his press conference yesterday, Pep Clotet said:
“He has got over his injury now. He has had two weeks of physical training now to get him up to speed. He recovered much sooner than we expected, which is another sign of all the good professionals we have in the medical department.
“He could be ready for this weekend although it is a little bit early in terms of fitness.”
As we have discussed previously on FFC, Birmingham seem to be operating very much in a 4-4-2 formation recently with Dan Crowley on the right-hand side, but they haven’t quite managed to work out who to play on the left flank.
They have shoe-horned in the likes of Jude Bellingham and Fran Villalba to play in that role, but none of them have quite managed to make it their own. Villalba scored last time out but that’s his only strike in England to date.
Perhaps that’s why Clotet went out and got Montero on deadline day, he saw that he didn’t have the personnel to make it happen, only to see those plans hampered by his injury.
Thogden ranks all 24 Championship home kits in the video below…
Bringing in the Ecuadorian would be a great way to readdress that balance somewhat and that’s why the Blues have been held back in his absence.
Whilst Crowley may not be a natural winger, he seems to be doing quite well at it, but then having a natural winger on the other side can make the formation work a whole lot better that it has been.
If he can get back to his form at Swansea, when he was averaging close to double the number of crosses per game than he is now, Lukas Jutkiewicz will thank him for whipping so many balls into the box. This could be a game-changing combination for Birmingham.
The striker is renowned for his prowess in the air, winning 8 aerial duels each outing this term. Montero, meanwhile, has a career high key pass rate of 1.2 per game over an entire season. It’s clear that they could benefit each other.
Birmingham have been getting on averagely without the 64-cap wide man so far, so they could be doing better, and the return of Montero might be the key to making that happen.