With Albion travelling to Ashton Gate on Tuesday night, we spoke
again with Paul who writes the City blog
The Exiled Robin.
He gives us his views on the sacking of Steve Cotterill, his possible
replacement, and the first match between the sides at The Hawthorns. You can follow Paul and his blog on
twitter at @TheExiledRobin.
have to start with the dismissal of Robins' boss Steve Cotterill, was it the
I suspect many of your readers
who read my original post would have felt a huge underlying feeling of
frustration with myself and many other fans, although I certainly didn’t expect
action so immediately. I wrote an extensive piece on why he was sacked,
anyone wants to find out more, but ultimately a mixture of his stubbornness and
refusal to change formation or personnel, his apathy towards our
heavily-invested Academy and constant public complaints about the lack of money
available to him in the transfer budget (even though he had the biggest budget
in league One last year) took their toll.
Who would you
like to see take over as manager? What names are in the frame?
A big question. It seems the
potential candidates are being grouped into proven successful big name types who
are probably out of our reach (Moyes, Pearson), young up-and-coming managers who
have done a half-decent job somewhere (Monk, Appleton who you know well,
Tisdale) and a couple of old warhorses to add some steel and balls to our
relegation campaign in the short-term (Warnock, Holloway – who surely, surely
would never be given our job. It would be like Steve Bull getting the Baggies
The hints seem to be we’re after
a young, progressive Head Coach rather than a manager, a view given extra store
by appointing Oxford’s Director of Football as our new Chief Operating officer
on Saturday – someone who’s worked in that way with Appleton at the Kassam
Stadium. Many fans seem to think we need a ‘big’ name but all I see with that
are big expectations around budgets, wages with little by way of guarantee of
Personally I’m not at all
against the caretakers, John Pemberton and Wade Elliott staying in charge until
the end of the season. One accusation that couldn’t be levelled against
Cotterill’s side was that they’d stopped playing for him – and a Pembo/Wade
combination could help harness that loyalty. We desperately need four or five
additional players still (we’ll probably only have 15 players in the squad on
Tuesday who have made their first-team debuts), but no-one coming in will have
any real time to truly assess who and where we need players, so would be hugely
reliant on the views of the backroom staff anyway. Give them it until the end of
the season in my opinion, allow them scope to sign a few players who will fit
with the dressing-room ongoing and then reassess in May depending on who else is
Thoughts on the first game
between the sides at The Hawthorns?
There was little to talk about
in the first half except a couple of half chances. I thought we were slightly
the better team in the second and played as well as we have for a long time to
create pressure, chances and, ultimately, a pair of goals. I think I mentioned
our penchant for conceding last minute goals in my preview piece and we fell of
switching off yet again. It barely even registered as a surprise, but what was
disappointing was the way half our team had their backs to the free-kick as it
was taken, not concentrating or getting into position quickly enough. So
What concerned me was when you
brought McManaman on and got the ball to him, my fear that he’d get in behind
our wingbacks and destroy us looked likely to be proven correct but after one or
two flurries you seemed to stop using him.
Albion players stand out for you?
Sessegnon was bright, quick and
had a lovely touch – definitely looked your highest quality player for most of
the game. It’s always good to watch Premier League players in the flesh – you
don’t necessarily notice the subtleties watching on television and I had him
firmly pigeon-holed in the set-piece/occasional wonder goal category, but he
looked to have much more to his game than that.
Have City perhaps missed their
chance of progressing or do you feel more confident of success now you are at
Possibly, but with some changes,
a new belief and a late winner at home to league leaders under our belt – at the
same time as you were being hammered – who knows?! A lot may rest on Pulis’ team
selection, can he play a strong side again with such a big derby against Villa
at the weekend? I’d expect him to – with Peterborough waiting in the next round,
it’s a great opportunity for each of us to start thinking about the later stages
of this competition.
City likely to line up for the game?
I suspect similarly to Saturday,
given the success we had. Our on-loan keeper O’Donnell is cup-tied, so young Max
O’Leary is likely to make his starting debut having made his first-team debut at
half-time at The Hawthorns. Ayling, Flint, Baker, Williams across the back, Pack
and Smith holding in midfield, then the three academy products, Bryan, Reid and
Burns, supporting one of our more experienced strikers up front, possibly
Wilbraham to hold the ball up more, giving top scorer Kodjia a rest for upcoming
crucial league games.
the game and prediction?
I think we’ll either get
hammered 3-0 if we’re not focused in the same way, or it’ll be very tight again,
possibly 1-1, creeping into extra-time. I have to say I still expect you to
progress one way or another.