Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer has insisted that both Jordan Graham and Juan Castillo need to keep working hard so that they can take their chance when it comes their way this season.
Graham arrived on a free transfer in the summer after a strong season with Gillingham in League One last term. He managed to rebuild his reputation and fired home 12 goals and six assists in his 39 league appearances.
However, the attacker has yet to make an appearance for the Blues in the Championship during their opening eight games of the campaign. Although he did start both of Birmingham’s League Cup matches against Colchester United and Fulham.
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Castillo, meanwhile, has endured a similar start to life at St Andrews. He has made just one Championship appearance so far from the bench at Sheffield United since making the loan move from Chelsea in the summer.
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Speaking to Birmingham Live, Bowyer insisted that there is still a long way to go this season and that both Graham and Castillo could still have a part to play for the Blues and that they just need to be ready to take their chance.
He said: “Two lads that came to us to fight for their place and to be in the side. It has not quite worked out for the two lads yet – we have only played eight games.
“There are 30-odd to go.
“The most important thing is they keep working hard and improving and when we need them they are ready to play.”
You have to feel for both Graham and Castillo so far this season at Birmingham. The pair are being kept out of the side by some strong performances by others ahead of them in the squad.
It might therefore take a few injury or suspension issues for them to break into the team.
Graham would perhaps have hoped to continue the momentum from his time with Gillingham last term. However, given the form of Jeremie Bela and Tahith Chong, you can understand why Bowyer has yet not been able to hand him many minutes this term.
The longer the season goes on, the more difficult it will be for both Graham and Castillo to maintain their motivation.
However, Bowyer needs to ensure that he manages that in the right way and makes them both feel they will get their chance eventually.