Garry Monk confident Birmingham can make progress next season

Birmingham manager Garry Monk is optimistic that the Blues can progress next season despite a low-key 1-1 draw against Wigan in their last home game of the season.

Birmingham failed to kick on after Lukas Jutkiewicz gave the Blues a perfect start with a goal after only 90 seconds but they struggled to dominate a sprightly Wigan side and finished with their 11th home draw of the season.

Wigan, who have shown impressive form in the closing weeks of the season, were always a persistent threat. Their dangerous attacking play was rewarded with an equaliser in the last minute of the first half when Nick Powell scored with a a long-range deflected shot.

Monk, who paid credit to the goalscoring performance of Jutkiewicz, admitted: “It was not the performance I had hoped we would produce.  The intention was to try and get a win in our last home game.

“We made a great start but the performance was not there on the day.  It was a poor, scrappy game.

“But what I think is the most important thing is the over-all picture of the season.

“The lads have given absolutely everything this season when they have produced some huge performances.

“It has been a successful season when you consider everything we have had to deal with off the field.

“I have talked a lot about adversity such as the nine points deducted and the breach of the financial rules which have had a big impact on the club.

“Mistakes have been made and we have to adhere to a financial plan.  It is not going to be easy and it is a bigger problem than what I thought than when I joined the club.

“We have to be very clever and work hard and make sure we clear the financial problems.

“There has to be some strict planning but we hope we can build and be successful and keep progressing.”

Wigan boss Paul Cook, who has successfully come through a stressful season and also created a favourable impression himself, allowed his assistant Leam Richardson to  evaluate the performance of his team.

“It was pleasing to finish the final away game of the season with a positive result,” said Richardson.

“The one thing I can say about our lads is that they never collapse as they demonstrated at Leeds the other week and managed to galvanise themselves and get a great result as they have done many times this season.”

Richardson added:  “The lads deserved to finish on a high.  We started the season well, stumbled a little in mid-season, but suffered only one defeat in our last eight games.

“There was no way the manager would allow the team to drift into the summer as he wants to win every game.  He makes his point very clear to the team that he wants to finish as high as possible and give a good account.”

Wigan took the opportunity to blood 16 year-old Joe Gelhardt.

Richardson said: “He has been doing great and scoring goals.  It was a just reward that he was given an outing in the last away game of the season.

“The job of the staff is to keep him on the right pathway.  If he does that he has a good chance of a good career.”

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