Familiar territory for Concannon in Blues cup clash

Jack Concannon
Jack Concannon

Blues face Tamworth at the Lamb in the Birmingham Senior Cup First Round on Tuesday (7.45pm).

And it is likely to bring one of the Under-23s face to face with the team where he made a big impression last season.

Jack Concannon spent a successful loan spell with the Southern Premier Central League side.

His input was greatly valued and, in turn, the lessons learned by the attacking midfielder or forward have helped his development.

Concannon has been one of the Under-23s bright stars this season, playing just behind the main striker or off a front two.

"The loan was very important for me," Concannon told "I'd played a bit of men's football earlier in the season (at Sutton Coldfield Town) but I had not had a real run of it. At Tamworth I got 20 games under my belt.

"It really toughens you up. You have to manage the game itself at times, you have got fans shouting at you and stuff. And to go and be a big part of the team, it was a great  experience."

There is perhaps a little extra pressure on the loanee in these situations, too, as he is expected to do the business.

"I think a little bit, yes," said Concannon, 19. "You are only young, but they see you are at a professional club so you have talent and quality and you are expected to bring that to the table at their club as well. Performances are on the line. Managers are being sacked. You have to go in and really play well.

"One of the biggest differences was the psyicality. There are big blokes, they are trying to tackle you hard and foul you at times, if you are influencing the game a lot.

"They are looking for you, following you around. So it's about dealing with that and still impacting on the game, getting on the ball."

"I know they've made a few signings this season, but there's still four of five lads still there from my time," Concannon added. "It will be nice to see them again."

Blues will not only have to face a Tamworth side in good nick - they are joint top, on points, in the league - but the artifical 3G surface that has now been down at the Lamb since

It's not an issue for Concannon, who said: "I prefer playing on the 3G. At that level some of the pitches aren't what you would like to play on.

"But I prefer it. It does't make a massive difference. As long as it's true, it's all right."

Concannon admits that Blues Under-23s need to snare some consistency. There have been some electric displays, notably the dismantling of Wigan Athletic and Leeds United.

Concannon, who has scored twice this season and netted in Friday's friendly against Salford City (pictured), said: "There have been good parts and bad parts. We've been a little inconsistent three wins, three draws, three losses in the league.

"As of late we have been putting in better performances. The Wigan game and Leeds game (4-0 and 3-0 respectively). Two of our best performances of the season. Hopefully we can carry on those type of results."

On a personal level, Concannon says he is enjoying his advanced position in the side. He has always had an eye for goal coming through the Academy ranks, predominantly from the centre of the park.

"That's my favourite position, just off the two front men or as the one behind, just in the pocket, where I can receive on the half-turn and play off the strikers, create chances for the team and score a few as well.

"I feel like I can drop deeper into midfield, but my qualities are best suited to playing further up field. My attacking qualities are better than my defensive qualities. So it'probably
better having me there!"

Tamworth could include ex-Blues defender and current Academy coach James Fry, having signed the ex-Stratford Town captain in the summer.

Admission is £5 adults and £2 under-18s. There is an additional charge of £2 to sit in the main stand.

The winners of Tuesday evening's tie will travel to face Coleshill Town in the Second Round of the competition.

* Blues Under-23s next home game is at Leamington FC against Bolton Wanderers Under-23s in the PDL on Friday (1.30pm).