Gary Rowett intends to utilise Development Squad

Rowett says that next season Blues could have better options from within the ranks.

Key members of the Development Squad are in action at St. Andrew's on Thursday when Blues take on Solihull Moors in the Final of the Birmingham Senior Cup (7.45pm).

And, allied to way they finished the league season in unbeaten fashion, more success would boost the cause of several up and coming youngsters currently under Richard Beale's guidance.

"We are always looking at promoting them and looking outside the Club," said Rowett, with a nod to the likes of Emmanuel Mbende, Luke Maxwell and Jack Storer.

"The one thing I have tried to do this season is have half an eye on next season as well.

"That’s sometimes about planning long-term rather than just short-term selfishly for me as a manager to win as many games as we can.

"We knew the Emergency Loan system was going to be banned next season and that it would be be just window-to-window for players.

"Therefore you haven’t got the capacity within the season to change problem positions.

 "Therefore long-term planning suggests we would need to improve and strengthen the Under-21s so that rather than be an extension of the Under-18s they are closer to the First Team.

"I believe with the recent form and signings, with further progress at the start of next season, we could almost have a player in each unit -  ie defence, midfield and attack -  who could come into the First Team squad when required and push harder.

"That’s what we will need, we will need five or six of those to be ready to play in the First Team if needs be because they are almost going to be our emergency loans next season. That’s something we have tried to put a lot of energy into this season.

"We have seen the fruit of it at the end of the (Professional Development League) season, maybe we didn’t at the start. But I think we will certainly see a lot more at the start of next season."