Luk’s in for Brum
Jutkiewicz 42, 53 STOKE CITY
LUKAS JUTKIEWICZ has now racked up 50 league goals for Birmingham and took them closer to safety here.
“We are not safe yet,” warned Blues boss Lee Bowyer. “But we have given ourselves a chance – that’s all we can ask for.”
Birmingham’s situation looked pretty hopeless when Aitor Karanka was sacked in mid-March – but they are now nine points clear of third-from-bottom Rotherham, who they face next Sunday.
Jutkiewicz (celebrating, above) was regularly left out by Karanka, but is revitalised under Bowyer with three goals in five games.
Bowyer has taken 10 points out of 15 ahead of Sunday’s big relegation battle.
And ‘The Juke’, at Birmingham since a £1.5million move from Burnley five years ago, will be happy to take advantage of any tired legs.
He saw off disappointing Stoke with two goals either side of the break.
Stoke boss Michael O’Neill said: “We didn’t defend the cross either for the first goal, and for the second our keeper Adam Davies spilled the shot and that was the game done.”
Jutkiewicz met Marc Roberts’ excellent cross from the right at the far post three minutes before half-time and headed powerfully in – and was back again in the 53rd minute.
Sub Sam Cosgrove’s 25-yarder wasn’t collected by Davies and the ball rebounded for Jutkiewicz to score.
Sunday in Yorkshire will be the
500th game of Jutkiewicz’s career.
It will be a momentous one for him and Birmingham’s future in the Championship.
BIRMINGHAM: Etheridge 6; Roberts 7, Dean 6, Pedersen 7; Colin 6, Gardner 8, Sunjic 7, Seddon 6 (Friend 90); Halilovic 6 (McGree 45, 5); Jutkiewicz 9 (Miller 90), Leko 5 (Cosgrove 85). Unused Subs: Trueman, Bela, Sanchez, San Jose, Harper. STOKE: Davies 5; Chester 6, Souttar 7, Batth 6; Smith 6 (Vokes 67, 5), Obi Mikel 6, Thompson 6 (Clucas 73, 5), Norrington-Davies 6; Powell 6; Brown 6, Fletcher 6 (Norton 67, 5).
Unused Subs: Gunn, Cousins, Tymon 6, Coates, Matondo, Taylor MAN OF THE MATCH: Lukas Jutkiewicz. Showed why it was wrong for Aitor Karanka to leave him out.
REFEREE: Geoff Eltringham 7.