The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Liam Cole­man

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Birm­ing­ham’s David Davis tries to beat Wes Hoola­han. Inset: Bradley John­son breaks away

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