Championship boss launches scathing attack on team as returning star offers West Brom boost for season finale

André Breitenreiter has launched a scathing attack on his team.André Breitenreiter has launched a scathing attack on his team.
André Breitenreiter has launched a scathing attack on his team. | Getty Images
Birmingham and West Brom face a tense finale as the Championship season reaches its climax

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett is hoping that he can inspire his team to a great escape in a crunch match at home to a high-flying Norwich City team that are near certainties to qualify for the play-offs.

The Blues have had a season of great turmoil, despite the arrival of new owners in July 2023. The decision to dismiss John Eustace in October after a promising start, proved costly and his successor Wayne Rooney was only able to achieve a division-low 10 points during his 15 games in the dugout.

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The appointment of former West Brom boss Tony Mowbray in January was designed to offer some stability, but he was forced to take a step back from first team duties due to medical issues, with former boss Gary Rowett eventually returning to the post for the final run-in.

Birmingham are the longest serving team in the Championship following their relegation in 2011. However, they now need a victory if they are to avoid being relegated to the third-tier for the first time since 1995. The Blues will be keen to avoid the same fate as last weekend's opponents Huddersfield who appear to be consigned to life back into the third-tier just five years on from their relegation from the Premier League.

Speaking after his side’s hard-fought 1-1 draw with Birmingham, Terriers boss Andre Breitenreiter accused his players of having a lack of ‘heart and passion.’ Breitenreiter has won just two of his 10 games since replacing Darren Moore and launched a scathing attack on his team during an interview with BBC Radio Leeds. He told reporters: “All the players are disappointed. It’s clear some players are more disappointed than other players.Some players left early, but they leave early every day so this was also a question for me of heart and passion and the willingness to stay together with the team.”

He added:“ This is also a big problem in the team for the whole season I think, but for sure for the time I am here. “I’m not here to find excuses, for me as a person I am strong enough. We all make mistakes, and me too. I think I made mistakes that I waited too long to suspend some players, maybe, or to find the right players to play with heart and passion but we had a lot of injuries, we had not many options.”

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The West Yorkshire side end the campaign with a trip to promotion chasers Ipswich, who need just a point to secure back-to-back promotions and a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

Injury-hit striker offers West Brom vital boost for season finale

West Brom are pushing for a return to the Premier League via the play-offs and are just one win away from mathematically securing a place in the top six, though a draw should prove sufficient due to their superior goal difference.

The Baggies will be keen to bounce back from a demoralising 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday and will be hopeful of improving on their record of just one victory in their last six league matches.

The West Midlands side have scored just once in their last three games, but were given cause for optimism by a positive return for striker Josh Maja, who scored twice and assisted for the reserves during a 4-2 success against Leeds on Monday. Maja, who scored 16 in 38 for Bordeaux last season, has scored just once in an injury-hit first season at the Hawthorns which has seen him play just 11 times.

Corberan was in attendance at the reserve game as Maja caught the eye and will be hoping that the 25-year-old can play a key role in some capacity in the season finale against Preston.

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