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