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Blues' goalkeeping dilemma

By Chris Quinn on Apr 6, 12 10:33 AM in Birmingham City FC


Regardless of what division Blues find themselves in next season, the position of goalkeeper is likely to be one that is up for grabs.
Currently, we have three 'keepers registered to the club that are in and around the first-team set-up - yet only one of those seems to be preparing for a quiet summer with no transfer talk.

Last season's number one (or 26 as his shirt read) Ben Foster is on loan at West Bromwich Albion after, rightly, saying he should not be playing Championship football. This was understandable on Ben's behalf; he was one of our best players last campaign and is a former England international currently in exile. In short, he is too good to be playing in anything other than the best league in the country. He has recently declared that he is very happy with Roy Hodgson's team and has said that whether Blues get promoted or not, he wants to stay. Therefore, it seems Blues will have to plan for the eventuality of Foster leaving. Firstly, a decision needs to be made about how we will replace him and then work our hardest to get the best possible price for him. We signed him for around £4m (rising to £6m), so we should be able to get at least that amount back for a young England international.

In the move that saw Foster go to B71, we received Boaz Myhill on loan for a season in return. After a shaky start, Myhill has started to flourish for Hughton and has made some key saves at key times in a game - away to Doncaster being the most recent I can recall. He still has a mistake inside him, but at this level, he's a very solid stopper. Hughton has not hinted towards signing him permanently once the season finishes, but he is playing his cards close to his chest in this regard.

Cup-hero and Juan Mata nightmare Colin Doyle is our first-choice back-up goalkeeper this campaign and has not let Blues down when called upon. A swipe at a bobbling ball in Maribor has tarnished his season, but hey, it didn't cost us the game. The main dilemma with Colin Doyle is that he is out of contract at the end of the season and a decision has to be made on whether he will be kept on or not. Doyle has seemed happy to play second fiddle for many years at Blues and has been a great servant, but the decision may lie with him. Does he finally want to leave and play football or is he happy to battle with a goalkeeper we bring in and/or Jack Butland for the number one spot?

Finally, the aforementioned Butland is the future of English goalkeeping. An England U-21 international who is currently on loan to Cheltenham, he has all the attributes mentally and physically to progress further. "[Jack has] everything he needs to play at the very top level, his head is screwed on, he knows what he wants and what he has to do to get there," was the glowing testimony from Robins teammate Steve Elliot. There has been a clamour from Blues fans to get him involved this season, but gaining experience at Cheltenham has been priceless. He has won a Player of the Month award and kept five clean sheets in eleven games in his original loan spell at Whaddon Road.

However, Colin Tattum has said in the past that Blues are viewing Butland as a contender for next season's first-team, regardless of what division we are in and despite any additions to the goalkeeping department this summer.

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Sport authors

Martin Laurence

Martin Laurence is a lifelong Aston Villa fan, statistical analyst and editor-in-chief at www.WhoScored.com. My Posts

Chris Quinn

Chris Quinn is a journalism graduate who has been a season ticket holder at Birmingham City for 10 years. My Posts

Richard Jefferson

Richard Jefferson is a West Bromwich Albion season ticket holder of more than 30 years and contributes to wbaunofficial
My Posts

Graham Large

Graham Large is a Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder and Executive Editor of itsroundanditswhite.co.uk
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