Liam Ridgewell may have been sat up in the St Andrew’s stands for Birmingham City’s morale-denting defeat to Reading on Saturday but the aftertaste was just as sour for the suspended defender.
The centre-half could only sit and watch his employers drop out of the Championship’s top two for the first time in over three months while he served his one-match ban for amassing five yellow cards.
Now as he prepares to return to Alex McLeish’s starting line-up for the Boxing Day match at Ipswich Town, Ridgewell has had chance to reflect on the psychological blow that he witnessed Birmingham suffer.
Two defeats may have resulted in Blues momentarily falling away from the automatic promotion spots but an ever-enthusiastic Ridgewell remains upbeat.
“Saturday was a bad day all round,” the 24-year-old said. “Obviously it was disappointing to lose to Reading especially at home and in the context of the title race it was a sucker punch. I think they just caught us with set plays and it’s disappointing because we’ve not let in too many goals this season. To concede like that was disappointing but we’ll be working on it all week, we’ll try to take the positives out of it and go into the Ipswich game.
“The two defeats might have been a reality check. It’s the best ever start, we’ve not let many goals in and I think it is time to reflect on what we have got to do. If we keep going like we’ve done in the first half of the season, we will be there or thereabouts. We have played Reading plenty of times and they’re a good side but we will put that to the backs of our mind and look forward.”
Ridgewell’s one-match absence may have been a blessing in disguise as it gave the Londoner an opportunity to completely shake off the effects of the flu bug that weighed him down early this month. Now a fully-fit Ridgwell is raring to go for the remainder of the festive fixture list starting with Friday’s match at Portman Road.
Ridgewell will be hoping for a repeat of the last time Birmingham took on Ipswich a month ago. The 2-1 victory for Birmingham may have been pleasing for Ridgewell but the finest goal of his career, a cracking volley from inside the Ipswich area, gave him extra reason to cheer that Tuesday night.
“It’s a long trip next and it will be a tough test down there. Jim Magilton’s got a good side down there and they will be wanting to win on Boxing Day as we will be,” Ridgewell said. “It would be fantastic to get another goal, even just a tap-in, but as long as we come away with three points that will be the main thing.”