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3 things we clearly learnt about Birmingham City after their 2-0 loss v Hull



Birmingham City fell to consecutive defeats in the Championship yesterday afternoon, losing 2-0 away at strugglers Hull City as they failed to atone for their defeat against Reading before the international break.

A controversial opener from George Honeyman in the 17th minute was followed by Gary Gardner’s red card just before half-time, allowing the home side to capitalise on their numerical advantage and double their lead just before the hour mark through Mallik Wilks.

This disappointing result keeps the Blues in 15th, a missed opportunity for the West Midlands outfit who would have climbed up to 11th place with a victory at the MKM Stadium today.

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For a side that looked set for their fourth consecutive win in the league against Reading before the international interval, going 1-0 up early on against the Berkshire outfit and retaining their lead until after the interval, this latest setback is a real blow for Lee Bowyer’s men who will be hoping that isn’t the start of another torrid run of form.

Going winless in seven and winning just two points from a possible 21 between a demoralising September to October period, a repeat of this could plunge them into relegation danger, something they will be keen to avoid in their quest to re-establish themselves as a solid second-tier side after five years of mediocrity.

To be able to get back to winning ways though, they will need to identify what went wrong in this weekend’s tie against Grant McCann’s men.

With this, we have selected three things we learnt about the Blues in this match as they set their sights on midweek’s tie at Coventry City.

McGree isn’t a wing-back

Birmingham may be without their two established right wing-back options in Maxime Colin and Jordan Graham, but putting Riley McGree there was a major selection error by manager Bowyer who rightly deserves criticism for this.

Scoring against Swansea and Bristol City from an advanced midfield position, it’s clear this area is where he can make the most impact, and arguably would have been a game-changer if he had started in that position.

Regardless of whether Colin or Graham are fit in time for their local derby against Coventry in midweek, the Australian international should not be starting there again, so Bowyer needs to find an alternative solution to their current injury crisis in this position.

It was an especially baffling decision because defensive-minded Gardner started in a more attacking midfield role in his place, a role the 29-year-old wasn’t suited to before being sent off.

Friend is a vital asset in the centre of defence

Missing his side’s last two games through injury, George Friend’s absence has been a huge blow in central defence for a side that struggled at the back against Reading and Hull.

Previously a left-back, the 34-year-old has adapted well to operate more centrally and put in a man of the match display against Bristol City in his last game, being singled out as the West Midlands side’s best player even though they scored three goals in a very attacking display.

The likes of Marc Roberts and Harlee Dean may have tallied up plenty of EFL game time during their careers, but it’s clear they are missing the experience of Friend to guide them through games. His return will only benefit loanee Dion Sanderson too.

In terms of yesterday’s match, conceding the first goal was forgivable considering the ball clearly went out of play, but Wilks had the freedom of Hull to grab their second and that cannot be allowed to happen again.

Someone like Friend would have prevented that from happening.

Castillo has no future at St Andrew’s

With the Blues’ injury crisis at wing-back, it’s almost unbelievable that Chelsea loanee Juan Castillo hasn’t made a league appearance since their opening day win at Sheffield United, not even from the bench.

In fact, he has only been in the matchday squad for the previous three games due to injuries, being omitted from the 18 for the majority of the campaign and seeming as though he hasn’t impressed Bowyer in training.

It would be difficult to find another reason why he has been left out considering his loan side’s current situation, so it would be no surprise to see his temporary spell at St Andrew’s terminated in January if there’s the option to do so.

Keeping him seems futile, with his potential departure along with McGree’s giving the Blues more breathing room to add another couple of loanees to their squad during the winter window.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 3 things we clearly learnt about Birmingham City after their 2-0 loss v Hull

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