Birmingham City defender Kristian Pedersen is at the moment going through arguably his most challenging period since he arrived at St Andrew’s with him no longer being a guaranteed starter for the Blues.
Pedersen was an excellent performer for Birmingham during each of the last two seasons down the left-hand side of their defence. The 26-year-old was involved in an impressive tally of six goals from left-back in the Championship last season. He also averaged an impressive 1.7 interceptions, 2.5 tackles and 2.4 clearances per game during his 44 league appearances for the Blues last term (Sofascore).
That sort of form saw him become one of Birmingham’s most influential performers and one of the first names on their team sheet during Pep Clotet’s time in charge. The Spaniard heaped praise on the defender and revealed that he was ‘important’ for his side throughout the campaign even when things were not going to plan on the field.
The 26-year-old’s form during the first half of last season saw him attract the attentions of Watford during the last January transfer window. The Blues though were determined to do all they could to keep hold of him and eventually managed to ensure that they retained the left-back for the second half of the campaign.
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The arrival of George Friend in the summer means that Pedersen does have a little more competition for his place in the side at left-back. However, the 26-year-old offers plenty of quality going forwards and defensively and is still averaging 0.8 key passes, 1.6 interceptions and 3.5 clearances per game in his 13 Championship appearances this term (Sofascore).
Despite that though, he has at times lost his place in the side and he was sent off during the Blues’ 1-0 defeat at home to Watford recently. That could potentially leave Karanka with some doubts over the 26-year-old and could therefore mean if there is more interest in him this window a departure is considered by the Blues.
Selling the left-back would be a major potential mistake for the Blues, with Pedersen still their strongest option in that position and with the ability to also operate as a wing-back. Replacing him in January would be a very difficult challenge and one which Karanka would surely find almost impossible to overcome.
It is therefore important that Birmingham and Karanka stand by the defender and remember why they were so reluctant to allow him to leave the club last January. Pedersen should still have a vital role to play for the Blues during the rest of the campaign and there is no reason why he can not rediscover his best form in the weeks ahead.