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Aitor Karanka defends Birmingham City striker snub

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Birmingham City boss, Aitor Karanka, has been forced to defend his management following last night’s goalless draw with Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship. 

Despite facing bottom-of-the-league Wycombe, Birmingham failed to break the deadlock, despite having Scott Hogan and, late January signing, Sam Cosgrove, on the bench as options to change the game.

That failure to introduce either has come in for criticism from sections of the club’s support, with Hogan and Cosgrove both remaining unused substitutes.

Quiz: Did each of these 18 ex-Birmingham City players ever score a goal at St Andrew’s?

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Kenny Cunningham?

A late Marc Roberts red card was pointed to by Karanka as he looked to defend his lack of movement from the bench, with George Friend the only substitute he turned to despite Blues’ struggles to break Wycombe down.

As per Birmingham Live, Karanka said: “These kind of games you need to be really, really concentrated on the pitch and even on second lack of concentration can be dangerous.

“We were going to be fighting to the last second and one mistake of concentration could have been difficult for us.

“I felt that the players weren’t tired, they were really committed and concentrated and I didn’t want to make any substitutions.

“It [two strikers] could have been positive because we hadn’t scored a goal but again to put Sam Cosgrove on the pitch and then to go to ten men with two strikers would have been difficult.

“It would have been the first game for Sam and I don’t think it is the best game for him to have his debut because these kind of games demand a lot of concentration and the first game normally is not easy.

“Scott and Juke had a good partnership last season and they were almost relegated so there are much more things that the pairings up front.”

That stalemate with Wycombe has left Birmingham in an awkward position in the Championship table.

Karanka’s side sit 21st and hovering dangerously above the relegation zone.

A win for Sheffield Wednesday at Bournemouth means that the Owls are now trailing Birmingham by just three points and also have a game in-hand over Blues.

Karanka’s side travel to Bournemouth at the weekend.

The Verdict

Forget the red card to Roberts, it was quite strange that Karanka wasn’t turning to his bench before the 87th minute as they looked for an important goal against a struggling side.

In Hogan, you’ve got a proven goalscorer in the Championship, whilst Cosgrove is a new signing that arrives with decent pedigree.

Why not give either a run out as your side searches for a goal?

It’s negative and the fans are starting to really turn on Karanka now. They want to see their manager be brave to try and pick up wins.

Thoughts? Let us know!


Alfie is a journalist based in Yorkshire with years of experience covering the EFL. A current focus on Huddersfield Town and their fortunes back in the Championship, but out and about at as many games as possible. Covered Leeds United during their promotion-winning season in 2019/20.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Aitor Karanka defends Birmingham City striker snub

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