Birmingham City manager Lee Boywer has backed Jonathan Leko to come good with his contributions for the club.
Leko joined Birmingham from local rivals West Brom back in the summer transfer window, but has endured something of a difficult debut campaign at St Andrew’s.
The attacker has yet to score or provide an assist in 32 appearances in all competitions for the club, as they battle relegation from the Championship.
That is something that has seen the 22-year-old come in for a considerable amount of criticism from certain sections of the Birmingham fanbase, with many frustrated by his lack of impact in front of goal so far.
Now however, it seems as though Bowyer is still expecting big things from Leko in a Birmingham shirt.
Speaking about the attacker, the Blues’ boss told Birmingham Live: “Obviously I know Leko I have worked with him last season and the one thing I recognised when he left was ‘Wow, how hard he works for the team’
“The one thing I know here is he is going to give me that. Leko – and I don’t mind saying it, I say it to him near enough every day, again I have had a chat with him this morning, he is a player that will frustrate you like you couldn’t imagine – especially me.
“I am on the sideline on Wednesday night he lost a couple balls and he was driving me crazy. Especially when he knows what I want from him.”
Despite that, it seems Bowyer believes Leko is a player worth taking a chance because of what he can do for his side, as he added: “I know there’s a good chance he is going to make something happen and do something others can’t. That is what we have go accept, there are times when he will frustrate you but he will then do something that will make you think ‘OK, yeah, I can see why he is playing’.
“And part of that is his work-rate. His work-rate is unreal. OK he might lose the ball and frustrate you at times but wow, what a job he does defensively.
“He brings a lot of positive as well, I know that because I have worked with him. He brings so much more than I think people recognise because of his work-rate.
“Running that channel, he runs it 20 times a game and he’s giving someone an option, that option might drag a defender and leave the door open for someone else to go into Jukey.”
Does St Andrew's have a higher or lower capacity than these 18 grounds?
Indeed, it seems Bowyer believes that is something that could soon make Leko an asset for Birmingham in more than one way, with the Birmingham boss claiming: “He is young, he is improving, if he does things right, keeps learning, he will be someone that other clubs will be interested in, I have no doubt.
“He will score goals, he will provide goals and he will work hard for the team.”
I do think Bowyer has a point with what he is saying here.
At 22-years-old, Leko is still at the early stages of his career, so there is still plenty of time for him to improve to a point where he can make the contribution expected of him at Birmingham.
Indeed, he clearly has to have shown a good deal of ability and potential to get to where he is now, and that should start to shine through eventually.
It is good to see Bowyer giving his backing to Leko here as well, which should lift the confidence of both the player, and the team as whole, given they know they have the support of their manager, which could be important as they look to build on their strong start to life under Bowyer.