1: We are no longer second in the table, and the usual lorryload of pessimists claim we will not regain a top two position again this season. There is some sense behind this argument, as we are off form, losing key players and struggling with the size and quality of the back-up squad.
2: Steve Bruce has, however, shown considerable nous and power in the transfer market and has a fortnight to clinch deals that are evidently beyond the early stages. He has swiftly smoothed the path for David Stockdale’s vital return to the Circle and now can go after a striker. The right moves could act as a catalyst to getting City back on track.
3: And if you can’t get one Campbell, maybe you can get another. Fraizer looks like he’s on the way to Cardiff – they’re way ahead of the field in the Championship at the moment and on that point alone, you could hardly blame him – and so now Bruce has tabled a bid for Dudley Junior. He’s 31 now, is DJ, but has a good record at Championship level and is not needed by his current employers. The other clubs in for him don’t have Bruce’s knowledge of the player or, indeed, the player’s knowledge of Bruce, and maybe their history will be key to the player signing for City. With Sone Aluko now out for at least six weeks, the procurement of a natural striker is more urgent than ever.
4: Bruce is also said to be chasing a duo of gifted Egyptian players, neither of whom is Ahmed Elmohamady. This is exciting stuff too. Ahmed Fathi, a wingback, and striker Mohamed “Gedo” Nagi could be with the club on loan by the end of the month.
5: Speaking of Elmohamady, it was perfectly within Sunderland’s right to recall someone whose wages they are responsible for. In a way it may be helpful to the Tigers in the longer term, as it might force hands at both clubs to get a deal done. Elmohamady was only an injury time substitute in the Black Cats’ win at Wigan at the weekend and is known to be keen to join the Tigers permanently. And under the rules he can’t play for anyone else now this season anyway.
6: At Orient, City were tepid and can be grateful for Nick Proschwitz’s worldy and Tom Cairney’s late show, as to end the tie with a penalty shootout may have proved too grotesque for words. Still, a home tie against Barnsley in the fourth round this weekend is a worthy reward, not obviously for any excitement associated with the game, but for the prospect of an all-too-rare fifth round tie in February.
7: Peterborough United officials and volunteers deserve our thanks and congratulations for making sure the game on Saturday went ahead. The inclement weather and the lack of undersoil heating made the prospects bleak, but a spot of belief, a few shovels and a touch of luck with the Saturday morning conditions meant we got a game and avoided a midweek trip down there at some inconvenient point of the the later season. Again, though, City were tepid and deserved no more than the point acquired.
8: Peter Swan was asked on the BBC in midweek, during one of many lulls at Brisbane Road, his opinion on the players out of contract at the end of the season, and which should be offered new deals. He said one who deserved it, in the context of both the player’s form and the direction being taken by the club, was Paul McShane. And he is right.
9: It’s the Race Night for Andy Dawson’s testimonial tonight. A fiver on the door at the Mercure Hotel in Willerby from 7.30pm. He deserves a huge turnout.
10: It’s rare we can feel well disposed to Bradford City, but tomorrow night they take a two-goal cushion to Villa Park with a place in the League Cup final at Wembley awaiting them if they can maintain their composure and advantage. Frankly, beyond City being at Wembley themselves, one can’t imagine a greater footballing joy in these cynical, sanitised times than seeing Matt Duke, after everything he has been through, getting to a major Cup final.