Go well Wes
Wes Harding has posted an emotional message to Birmingham City fans after deciding to leave the club.
The 23-year-old has completed a move to Championship rivals Rotherham United, bringing to an end a Blues career that started when he left Aston Villa’s academy.
That was back in 2013, since when he has come through the ranks at Wast Hills to make 59 first team appearances.
It was Garry Monk who gave him his big break in the spring of 2018 and whilst not always commanding a first team place he proved himself to be a willing contributor.
And he will be fondly remembered at Blues, particularly after his parting message to supporters which he posted on social media.
“At 16 years old I came to Birmingham pursuing a career in football. Seven years later I can proudly say I have achieved that goal.
“I enjoyed my time on the pitch and gave my all every time.
“Thank you to the academy and the first team staff over the years who grounded me, my team-mates who nurtured me and the fans who supported me.
“It’s an emotional goodbye, I genuinely love the club but it’s the right time for me to move on.
“I leave Birmingham with long lasting friendships and fond memories.
“See you soon, Keep Right On.”
Glees back in
Former Birmingham City midfielder Stephen Gleeson has signed for Solihull Moors.
The 32-year-old has agreed a one-season deal which will see him join former Blues players Adam Rooney, Mitch Hancox and Darren Carter at the National League outfit.
Ex-Blues Under 23 coach Richard Beale is also in the coaching set-up and has been lining up a reunion with Gleeson for some time.
The defensive midfielder has finally put pen to paper and ended an eight month period without a club since he left Aberdeen in January.
“It’s exciting, I’m excited to get going and get back into football. It’s close to my home, the manager, Bealey, the project, everything just fitted what I wanted at this stage in my career,” Gleeson told the club website.
“I’m just ready to get going and start enjoying my football again – I think this could be the right club for me.”
Birmingham City triallist Tom Scott has made his first appearance for the club’s Under 23s – five months after his trial was supposed to start.
The 19-year-old played the full 90 minutes of Friday’s 1-0 friendly victory over West Brom, a match settled by Josh Andrews’ first half penalty.
Scott has been at Manchester City for the last five years, having joined them from hometown club Leeds United in 2015 and played through the age groups at the Etihad.
His trial with Blues was due to start a few days before lockdown in March meaning he has had to wait until the development team has resumed.
Scott finally got to show what he can do as Blues’ 23s played for the first time since their 2-0 win over Hull on March 6.
Scott is currently a free agent after being released by City but his appearance with Blues is relatively informal arrangement and will have no bearing on the club’s search for a first team goalkeeper following Lee Camp’s departure and Connal Trueman’s loan to AFC Wimbledon.
It is now just a few weeks to go until the new season in the Championship begins and excitement has increased significantly since the full release of the schedule on Friday.
A new season means a blank slate for every team in the Championship, although the exception this year is Sheffield Wednesday who begin the campaign with a 12-point deficit.
Predicting just how the season will pan out is an extremely difficult task, particularly in a league as challenging as the Championship, but data-crunching experts have done exactly that.
A supercomputer from unikrn’s has worked out a predicted table for the final standings in the Championship, based on factoring a range of the most informative betting markets in terms of influencing the final outcome of the season including league winner, odds to finish in the top six and relegation odds.
This is what it has predicted for Blues.
Birmingham City kick off their 2020/21 Championship campaign at home to Brentford.
The beaten play-off finalists visit St Andrew’s on September 12 to get the delayed league season up and running for Aitor Karanka’s side.
Karanka, 46, returned to management after an 18-month hiatus to take over at Blues this summer.
The first West Midlands derby against tenants Coventry City is on November 21 with Blues as the away side, before the home game with the Sky Blues on January 30.
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Blues are away at Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day and round off the season with a trip to Blackburn Rovers.
The season will begin behind closed doors with the possibility of a set number of fans returning from October.
All fixtures are subject to change throughout the season due to TV selections etc.
Birmingham City’s 2020/21 Championship fixtures in full:
12/09/2020 15:00 Birmingham City v Brentford
19/09/2020 15:00 Swansea City v Birmingham City
26/09/2020 15:00 Birmingham City v Rotherham United
03/10/2020 15:00 Stoke City v Birmingham City
17/10/2020 15:00 Birmingham City v Sheffield Wednesday
20/10/2020 19:45 Norwich City v Birmingham City
24/10/2020 15:00 Queens Park Rangers v Birmingham City
28/10/2020 19:45 Birmingham City v Huddersfield Town
31/10/2020 15:00 Preston North End v Birmingham City
04/11/2020 19:45 Birmingham City v Wycombe Wanderers
07/11/2020 15:00 Birmingham City v A.F.C. Bournemouth
21/11/2020 15:00 Coventry City v Birmingham City
24/11/2020 19:45 Luton Town v Birmingham City
28/11/2020 15:00 Birmingham City v Millwall
01/12/2020 19:45 Birmingham City v Barnsley
05/12/2020 15:00 Bristol City v Birmingham City
09/12/2020 20:00 Reading v Birmingham City
12/12/2020 15:00 Birmingham City v Watford
16/12/2020 19:45 Cardiff City v Birmingham City
19/12/2020 15:00 Birmingham City v Middlesbrough
26/12/2020 15:00 Nottingham Forest v Birmingham City
29/12/2020 19:45 Birmingham City v Derby County