Nobody enjoyed Birmingham City’s defensive slump, or maybe it should be slumps. Not Lee Bowyer, not the players who ran out of time, not those who had to break through the pain barrier and certainly not the fans who saw the results suffer.
Yet even the darkest cloud has a silver lining and this one is no different. The Blues have found themselves a shining example of the maxim that good things happen when opportunity meets preparation. Nico Gordon didn’t have much preparation time but he more than seized his opportunity.
Indeed, since getting his first-team chance, the 19-year-old has been one of the Blues’ best players, but even he has had to speed up his rehabilitation from injury just to give Bowyer a boost. true defender at a time when there were few others. After spending more than six months on the road, Gordon entered the Bristol City squad after three appearances for the Under-23s.
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Within 13 minutes he had headed in the first goal of his senior career and he spent the rest of the evening at Ashton Gate subduing the much-touted Antoine Semenyo. Bowyer kept his confidence in the next game when Teden Mengi returned to fitness and the teenager has remained in the squad ever since.
Since then he has fought mighty Hull striker Tom Eaves to a standstill and kept the dangerous Swansea pair Joel Piroe and Michael Obafemi under wraps. Middlesbrough’s Aaron Connolly flew past him in the build-up to the goal against Chris Wilder’s men a week ago, but we’re talking a slip in the context of an otherwise competent performance.
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He played in a back three and a back four, faced all sorts of opponents and each time emerged looking more like a Championship defender than he did at the start of the games. Everyone knows the Blues need to do something about their defense this summer, find younger, quicker and more technical centre-backs to complement the ones they currently have.
The emergence of Gordon, who is contracted until 2023 and on whom the Blues have an additional 12-month option, will not entirely negate that requirement, but where the club would potentially need to bring in two or three new faces, it should no longer be one or two.
Gordon has shown enough to earn his spot for the rest of the season and to be considered a front-line contender on the team next term. In that regard, he has bought the Blues time and money which can be spent elsewhere and if you think he has real potential now, imagine what he will look like after rest and an unhindered pre-season. .