Cot­ter­ill’s ar­rival has put these five back in frame...

Birmingham Post - - SPORT - BRIAN DICK Foot­ball Writer

STEVE Cot­ter­ill’s ap­point­ment as man­ager re­unites the coach who helped keep Birm­ing­ham City in the Cham­pi­onship last sea­son with a once-again em­bat­tled squad.

It is a squad that fea­tures sev­eral play­ers who have barely played this sea­son – or who fell out of favour with Harry Red­knapp.

But in his first ad­dress to the play­ers Cot­ter­ill was keen to em­pha­sise a line must be drawn un­der the first cou­ple months of the sea­son and stressed the need for a fresh start.

That will be ex­actly what many play­ers want to hear – and here are a few who could find them­selves back in con­tention for game-time. MAIKEL KIEFTENBELD

The pic­ture of Cot­ter­ill with his arm round a smil­ing Kieftenbeld struck a chord with many Birm­ing­ham sup­port­ers.

Very few wanted Kieftenbeld to leave St An­drew’s and were re­lieved when his move to Derby fell through.

He missed just one minute’s ac­tion in the three games when Cot­ter­ill was Red­knapp’s as­sis­tant at the end of last sea­son, so he could find his en­ergy and com­mit­ment puts him back in the Blues first team. JONATHAN GROUNDS

The 29-year-old played ev­ery minute of the last three games of last sea­son and re­mains the only au­then­tic, ex­pe­ri­enced left­back at the club.

Che­ick Keita is out on loan, Co­hen Bra­mall has played just twice and since Grounds was dropped after the Nor­wich game Blues have fielded a right-back his po­si­tion.

De­pend­ing on your view of the de­feat at Hull – an aber­ra­tion or in a sign of some­thing sig­nif­i­cantly wrong – it is un­de­ni­able the en­tire de­fence was given very lit­tle cover.

Cot­ter­ill could con­sider mak­ing changes at the back and has al­ready spoken of play­ing play­ers in their best po­si­tion. DAVID COT­TER­ILL

The Welsh winger made a first ap­pear­ance for more than a month at the KCOM. He has not started since Au­gust 15.

At his best, which hasn’t been for a while, he has the tech­ni­cal abil­ity to sup­ply the kind of crosses Blues’ strik­ers – Sam Gal­lagher and Lukas Jutkiewicz, in par­tic­u­lar – need to thrive.

He can also be a threat with a dead-ball. With Jota set to re­turn from in­jury, Cot­ter­ill’s chances might be lim­ited.

But that ig­nores the fact Steve Cot­ter­ill has worked with him be­fore – at Portsmouth when he took him on loan to Frat­ton Park in 2011 and where the for­mer Swansea man did well enough to have his loan ex­tended. MARC ROBERTS The £3.5mil­lion man looked good in pre-sea­son, demon­strat­ing the phys­i­cal and tac­ti­cal tools to jus­tify why Red­knapp spoke so highly of him. How­ever, as Blues’ form waned so too did Roberts’ as Red­knapp chopped and changed his de­fence. The man­ager took re­spon­si­bil­ity for that, though his sug­ges­tion the ex-Barns­ley man found it hard to play as a left-sided cen­tre-half was in­ju­di­cious. Roberts hasn’t started a game since Au­gust 26 but just a few months ago he was re­garded as one of the bet­ter cen­tre-halves in the Cham­pi­onship and is ex­actly the kind of ‘head it, clear it’ de­fender Birm­ing­ham need. LIAM WALSH

The young­ster ar­rived on loan in the fi­nal min­utes of the win­dow. Un­for­tu­nately his de­but came in an ill-suited No.10 role at Nor­wich. He did all right but, with six debu­tants, the team wasn’t re­ally func­tion­ing.

He was much, much bet­ter in a deeper role against Pre­ston, though, and while all around him crum­bled in the sec­ond half he demon­strated a de­sire to keep pos­ses­sion and with­stand the tide.

How­ever, he hasn’t been in­volved in the last three games – and has just 15 games be­fore he’s due to re­turn to Ever­ton.

> David Cot­ter­ill, Liam Walsh and Jonathan Grounds hope to get a chance

> Maikel Kieftenbeld and, inset, Marc Roberts need more game-time

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