News & Star column 16.01.20

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It was great to see Blues fans leaving Brunton Park with smiles on their faces despite Wednesday night’s defeat against Cardiff.

A seven-goal thriller, packed with excitement, was easily the best game of the season and a great advert for the FA Cup.

But if some of football’s ‘bigwigs’ get their way it is something we might not see again.

There is a move afoot to scrap FA Cup replays. It comes at a time when there is talk of expanding the Champions League and even doing away with the EFL Cup.

Naturally, it is all being led by the Premier League where greed has no boundaries.

They complain of fixture congestion but search for lucrative overseas tours. They want to have their cake and eat it.

Once again though, it will be lower league football that suffers. Down in League One and Two clubs rely on the chance of earning some ‘football fortune’ by drawing a big team in the cup.

 They can put their Under-21s out if they like but for lower league clubs there is prize-money to be earned and the possibility of a money-spinning replay.

Blues fans were happy to turn out to watch the replay with Cardiff, relegated from the Premier League last season (even though Manchester United were on TV). They were even happier to see their low budget side match a team that cost millions.

With many lower league sides struggling to survive taking away cup replays is the last thing they need.

On more immediate matters the Blues need to transfer their cup form into the league.

We are hovering dangerously close to the one relegation place and are desperate for a good result at Oldham today (Saturday).

Against Cardiff the front three of Harry McKirdy, Nathan Thomas, and Hallam Hope all impressed with two-goal McKirdy, in particular, giving a standout performance. But with new loan signing, striker Joshua Kayode, waiting in the wings head coach Chris Beech may have to leave one of them out.

That is the sort of headache he will not mind as the Blues search for consistency.

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