Welcome return for key Blues trio

Certainly when you don't win or have not played as well then I think it alerts everyone to just how important those players are to our group

Gary Rowett
The experienced and influential trio have been sidelined in recent weeks due to injury but all three are back in full training and Gary Rowett confirmed this morning that they are in contention for a place in his side for the Hillsborough clash.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Grounds is also back available after missing the home win over Cardiff City with a minor knock.

“They have all been back training this week,” said Rowett, in today’s pre-match press conference.

“They will be available for selection provided they come through the week okay.

“In the last game Cotts was due to be back on the bench but just felt a slight niggle in his knee.

“Because of Groundsy's situation, I didn't want to have anyone on the bench that might end up having to come on and then come off the pitch because we felt we would probably have to make another change anyway.

“Groundsy has also trained this week – he just wasn't quite right for the game at the weekend.”

The return of attacking lynchpin and top marksman Donaldson and Cotterill – a player with a good goal-scoring record himself, as well as being a key provider of chances – will provide a particularly welcome fillip for a team that have been struggling for goals of late.

And Rowett will also be pleased to welcome the experienced Robinson back into the squad.

But with all three players having been out since early November, the manager said he would have to think carefully about his team selection with two games coming up in the space of three days, MK Dons the visitors to St. Andrew’s on Bank Holiday Monday.   

“The issue is that if you were to chuck all three of them into the first game then the chances are you are going to have to be making probably three substitutions around the 60-70 minute mark.

“That's always something I have to bear in mind. But it's great to have those options.”

Blues have an almost clean bill of health with only full-back Neal Eardley, who limped off in the narrow home win over Cardiff City with a tight groin, and teenager Koby Arthur (knee) ruled out.

Rowett said of Eardley’s absence: “I am not sure about Eards yet, I have still to talk to the physios, but I am assuming he will probably be ruled out of these two games.

“It was more tightness and stiffness more than he has torn his groin or anything like that.”

The manager added: “It's fairly positive on the injury news and, as I said before, it will be great to get the three lads we have missed back.

“Sometimes, ironically, you almost become a better player when you are not in the team.

“Certainly when you don't win or have not played as well then I think it alerts everyone to just how important those players are to our group.”