ROWETT’S PHONE BILL SET TO SOAR
BIRMINGHAM manager Gary Rowett admitted he expects to spend the next few days on the phone to agents up and down the country, but wasn’t complaining after seeing his side extend their unbeaten Championship run to five games against Norwich.
It was former Blue Nathan Redmond who came closest to breaking the deadlock with a long-range thunderbolt that Darren Randolph turned away in the first half.
And Russell Martin could have sealed a valuable away win for the Canaries after the break but volleyed over, to leave Rowett looking ahead to a busy few days of transfer dealings.
“I’m not overly disappointed with this on the back of a tough week,” he said.
“You always want to win games at home but a point and a clean sheet against a good Norwich side full of Premier League players is a good result.
“Sometimes you’ve got to be resolute and we’ve kept a clean sheet at home, which we are happy with.
“I feel that Norwich making five changes to their side and changing the way they play is a compliment to us and the form we have been in.
“I’ve been on the phone all day yesterday and before the game, and will be for the next few days as is always the case at this time of year.
“Everyone seems to want to wait until the last minute and this is a competitive league.Whilst there is a lot of interest in a lot of players, getting definitive answers off those players is always hard.”
Norwich, looking to bounce back from a 2-1 home defeat to Brentford, made five changes to their side, leaving £10m worth of talent on the bench, including Cameron Jerome, Kyle Lafferty and Gary Hooper.
An early David Cotterill effort stung the fingertips of John Ruddy in the Canaries goal, while Demarai Gray wasted a useful pass from Stephen Gleeson when well placed on 19 minutes.
On 25 minutes, Redmond drew the game’s best save from Randolph when he let fly from 25 yards. Two minutes into the second period, Lloyd Dyer had Birmingham’s best chance of the game only for Ruddy to block his low effort.
After 55 minutes Redmond crossed to the back post to find Russell Martin unmarked, only for his side-footed volley to flash over the crossbar.
Just after the hour mark, Martin rose highest from a Redmond corner from the left-hand side and his header beat Randolph in the Birmingham goal but was cleared off the line by Paul Caddis.
With two minutes of normal time left Gray was neatly found by Jonathan Grounds on the left and his driving run into the box nearly found substitute Andy Shinnie at the front post, but his effort was poked wide.
“I think it was a case of us dominating the ball for most of the game, I thought we were the better side and if anyone was going to win the game it was going to be us,” said frustrated Norwich boss Alex Neil.
“I think we weren’t as good in the final third as we have been recently. In terms of the play, we were the dominant side, but didn’t have that cutting edge in the final third.
“I thought that with the changes I made, the players were solid, and I think that they put in a solid performance. Lewis Grabban has trained really well since I’ve got to the club and he was the best option in terms of leading the line as a lone striker.
“With regards to transfers, there are always things going on in the background about players leaving and coming in, but until there is something concrete there is no point in discussing it.”
EYES ON THE PRIZE: Birmingham’s David Davis tries to beat Wes Hoolahan. Inset: Bradley Johnson breaks away