The Chalkboard: The Birmingham players were visibly tired in Millwall defeat

Birmingham City fell to their third successive Championship defeat when they were beaten 2-0 by a lowly Millwall at St Andrew’s on Wednesday night, and it was obvious that the exertions of the season are beginning to catch up on the players.

On the chalkboard

There is no doubt about it, not too many realistic Blues fans would have expected their team to be in contention of finishing in the play-off positions at this stage of the season, but that is the position the Midlands club are still in despite the recent downturn in results.

The campaign is a long and gruelling one in this division and when you are trying to get through it with the same core of 18-20 players – as City have done – and it is always going to catch up on you at some point however impressive you may have been previously.

Harlee Dean and Maikel Kieftenbeld are two key men vital to the Blues’ success that simply look off the pace right now, and performances on the pitch are suddenly taking a big hit as a consequence – to be fair, not one individual was at the races against Millwall.

What can Monk do?

Not too much to be honest.

He would have loved to have strengthened his squad during the January transfer window had it not been for the club’s transfer ban, which left him unable to add some new signings and some fresh impetus to the ranks.

Because of the small pool of players he has to choose from that we mentioned previously, Monk will be forced to make small rotation changes when possible – as he did when Lukas Jutkiewicz dropped to the bench against the Lions – and pray that Birmingham can get back to winning ways, starting at Preston on Saturday.