Birmingham City manager Pep Clotet has revealed that several players are back in training with the club following injury problems.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s meeting with Preston on Saturday afternoon, Clotet revealed that Jonathan Grounds, Cheick Keita and Fran Villalba have returned to training ahead of the match at St Andrew’s.
Grounds has yet to feature for the club this season due to injury, while Villalba was absent from the Blues’ 1-0 win at Charlton last weekend with a groin problem.
Like Grounds, Keita has also yet to make an appearance for the club this season, and limped out a recent Under 23s game with an ankle injury, although it seems he too could be close to a return to action.
With Kerim Mrabti and Jacques Maghoma both featuring for the first time since the opening day of the season at Charlton, Clotet was pleased to see ‘large numbers’ in training, providing them with options across the pitch.
Who wins this weekend, Birmingham or Preston?
“Groundsy and Keita have been training with us, Groundsy came back in this week. It is good, we have large numbers in training – we have options in all positions, Mrabti and Maghoma are back, Fran has been training again too,” Clotet was quoted by Blues’ official media as saying.
Birmingham head into Saturday’s game eighth in the Championship, having won four and drawn one of their opening seven league games of the season.
This is a big boost for Birmingham.
With Grounds, Keita and Villalba all back in training, Birmingham now have three more reliable options to call upon going forward should they need to do so.
After already made an encouraging start to the season, having those extra players available means they should be capable of coping with the challenges of pushing towards the top end of the division this season, given the option to rotate it provides Clotet with.
It will be interesting to see just how much the Spaniard does that, although he should be under no pressure to rush any of them back into the side too quickly.