AITOR KARANKA SUFFERS THE BLUES
With Easter soon approaching on the horizon, it is seemingly becoming a time when club chairman are starting to get a bit jittery and where patience has been an early season virtue, now it looks as if their trigger fingers are becoming somewhat itchy.
After Chris Wilder’s departure from Sheffield United was slightly more protracted than it needed to be, it looks as if another managerial casualty could soon appear and one that comes courtesy of Aitor Karanka at Birmingham City.
The 47-year-old has been at the Birmingham helm for just eight months and in that time, it is fair to say that the Blues have struggled throughout. A struggle that could see them plying their trade in League One next season.
The St. Andrew’s outfit currently find themselves hovering on the right side of the relegation dotted line and although 21st would be accepted by all within the club right now, that position is not as safe as it seems.
If only because Rotherham in 22nd have an incredible four games in hand and although some will argue that points on the board is always the preferred currency, the Millers will fancy their chances of finding the necessary three points as things stand.
With so many opportunities to erode the gap that stands between the two clubs, you would make Rotherham favourites to finish outside the drop zone at Birmingham’s expense and that, is even after the Yorkshiremen’s ongoing tussle with COVID-19.
When it comes to a tussle or the ability to display some fight, Birmingham have showed little as of late and this was no more evident than at the weekend, as they played host to a mid-table Bristol City.
However, you would never know that Bristol City have been largely going through the motions themselves and after leaving the West Midlands with all three points, Birmingham made them look like prime Barcelona.
The 3-0 win for Nigel Pearson’s men was their third success in the last five Championship outings and courtesy of that overwhelming victory, Birmingham have now suffered 12 home league defeats this season.
A dirty dozen of defeats, that means they possess the worst home record in the division, and it is these performances, which have been the root cause for Aitor Karanka’s imminent departure from the club.
The former Middlesbrough boss was originally hired for his previous pedigree at this level and after lifting the Teeside team out of the division in 2016, the remit would have been to do the same this time around.
However, five years is a long time in football and with the Championship being a competition that becomes more difficult with each one that passes, a chronic lack of investment is certainly not going to help.
Which has been the case within Birmingham over that same period and there is a sense that the former Real Madrid defender has been working with more than one hand tied behind his back at times.
Then again, if the reports are to be believed, it looks as if that restriction will be cut and the search for a new Birmingham manager will begin in earnest. A search that may require the need for a saviour in the final third of this league season.