Maikel Kieftenbeld has missed a large portion of the season through injury, with the Dutchman having been sidelined in April of last year, thus seeing him ruled out for the whole of the first half of the campaign.
The Dutchman originally arrived at St Andrew’s during the 2015/2016 campaign from Dutch Eredivisie side FC Groningen, with the player having gone to make a total of 162 appearances for the Blues in all competitions since making the move to the Football League.
The 29-year-old is now said to be nearing a return to action, with Birmingham manager Pep Clotet recently confirming that the defensive midfielder would be given game time for the club’s under 23 side in the near future.
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It is match fitness that will prove to be the most crucial for Kieftenbeld as he seeks to win his starting place back off Ivan Sunjic.
Given that the midfielder is on his way back to full fitness, we felt now was a good time for Football League World Journalist Chris Thorpe to take to the BCFC Fans Group to ask members whether Kieftenbeld will slot straight back into the club’s starting eleven or not, yielding several responses from the club’s supporters.
Here, we take a look at some of the best replies from the fans via social media.
Owen Roberts: Hopefully he comes back and replaces Sunjic.
Matthew Hewitt: Nope, I don’t think he gets in the team at the minute.
Chris Hart: No don’t change it, he’s not good enough.
Craig Lee: You can’t change a winning team, I get you have to rest a few here and there but overall no, I’m sure he will be featuring now and again though.
Dan Paxton: No he’s not fully fit and can’t pass.
Geoff Winkles: Maybe not in the starting eleven, he will make a good impact player for the bench though. Our bench has started to look a little weak.
Ed Dourass: It’s good that the team has hit form as there will be no immediate rush to get him into starting eleven. We can ease him back gradually.
Ruth Dickson: I hope so, we need him.
Jez Whitehead: To be honest ‘Dutch Mike’ might never get to where he was as a player. Big injuries can change a player as it did with the likes of Vassell and Davis. I think Sunjic and Gardner are a great partnership at the moment and you can’t touch them.
Give Kieftenbeld time and ease him back rather than throw him straight in. Bellingham can come into the middle if needs be and we have wingers to cover him if he does so.
Thing is also Kieftenbeld could become another scapegoat like David Davis did if he doesn’t get to where he once was! Which shows fickle fans know nothing about football.