Alex Neil appointment would be music to the ears of one Birmingham City player

Alex Pritchard has endured a difficult start to his Birmingham City career and it’s been made more painful by the departure of Tony Mowbray.

It is no secret that Mowbray was extremely influential in Blues’ acquisition of Pritchard at the end of the January transfer window. From the moment Pritchard went on strike at Sunderland, it was clear that St Andrew’s would be his next destination.

Shortly after Blues’ FA Cup exit to Leicester City in January, on the same day that it was made public by Sunderland that Pritchard wanted to leave, Mowbray issued a come-and-join-us plea to the 30-year-old playmaker.

He said: “What I do know is Alex Pritchard is a player with personality and character, wonderful ball manipulation and great dead ball skills. We will wait and see how it develops. He is not our player, he is somebody I shouldn’t be talking about I suppose, but we will see how things develop over the next four or five days.”

READ: Rob Page makes Jordan James transfer prediction after Birmingham City relegation

READ: Birmingham City search for their own Kieran McKenna to replace Tony Mowbray

Mowbray thrust Pritchard straight into his starting line-up for an away game at West Bromwich Albion but the midfielder had to be replaced at half-time. Pritchard wouldn’t feature again under Mowbray. He faltered in starts against Millwall and Middlesbrough under Mark Venus and barely featured under Gary Rowett in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Ordinarily, Pritchard’s future would be up for debate. But given the size of the rebuild that awaits Blues this summer, Pritchard – whose last campaign in League One ended in promotion – could well stick around.

The chances of that happening will only be enhanced if Alex Neil is the man to replace Mowbray. Neil led the Sunderland side Pritchard played in to promotion via the League One play-offs in 2022.

Their relationship stems much further than that, too. Neil signed Pritchard for Norwich City from Tottenham Hotspur for £8million in 2016.

Speaking about Neil’s impact at Sunderland in 2022, Pritchard said: "When he came in he stamped his authority on the place, he tightened things up and stopped us conceding so many goals. There were also a lot of good things here as well so he could look and say 'I don't need to do anything with that'.

"We had got a lot of things right under Lee Johnson, but it was just a case of making a few adjustments and you can see that Alex Neil has done that. He's a great manager and you can see what he has done since he has been here."

There was even a suggestion that Neil wanted to take Pritchard to Stoke City, whom he joined in August 2022, a few months after winning promotion to the Championship with Sunderland. Pritchard was viewed as a key Sunderland player by Mowbray but not by those in power at the Stadium of Light.

That move failed to materialise and Pritchard ended up staying at Sunderland for another year until he reunited with Mowbray at Blues. But now that Mowbray has departed, and Neil is seemingly in the running to replace him, maybe Pritchard will end up working under the Scot again.

Do you think Neil would be a good appointment? Have your say in the comments section HERE