As was rumoured via the Birmingham Mail yesterday, former Blue, Craig Gardner has returned to the club as part of Aitor Karanka’s first team coaching staff.
The ‘Bluenose’ was a part of the coaching team at Blues as recently as November, departing to team up with Tony Pulis upon his appointment at Sheffield Wednesday.
Gardner is known for having a good working relationship with the boss, Karanka revealing “I had no hesitation in welcoming him back. He is someone who I enjoy working with.”
Joining Blues in 2010, Gardner quickly set himself out to be a favourite amongst the fans, with his heavy passion and desire helping to steer the club into a healthy 9th place in our return to the Premier League. The following season, despite the dismal end, Gardner stood out as a shining light, with the infamous goal against West Ham in the Carling Cup Semi-Final really adoring himself to the Blues faithful.
Upon his first return in 2017, his character and heart galvanized the team to aid with survival on the final day of the season twice, under both Harry Redknapp and Garry Monk, respectively.
In 125 appearances for Blues, the midfielder contributed 16 goals.
Karanka has revealed, “All the players welcomed him back, they had a laugh and a joke with him and we hope now that he can help us in the coming weeks and months.” That will certainly be the plea from the fans after a barren run of results which has seen us pick up only 1 point in our last 7, leaving us languishing in 18th place.
With Karanka looking as passionate as a door stop in recent weeks, something definitely needs to change around the team’s atmosphere and morale. The acquisition of Gardner as a coach will surely help to stimulate the players, who hopefully, in turn will mirror his passion for the club on the pitch.
Blues Focus Verdict
I am extremely encouraged by Gardner’s return with this hopefully having a positive impact on the players, who seemingly enjoy having him around the place. As fans, we all know something needs to happen – and quick – to prevent a fall even further down the table. Here’s praying the return of the former club hero will spur the team on to pick up vital results in the remainder of the season, beginning on Sunday against giants, Man. City where we will catch our first glimpse of Gardner back on the touchline.