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Steve Cotterill praise for Jonathan Grounds

Jonathan Grounds
Jonathan Grounds.

He’s an intelligent footballer, you know. You don’t have to tell him many times. You explain something to him and he understands it.

Steve Cotterill.

The Manager says Jonathan Grounds is an 'unsung hero' for Blues.

The left-back is on the verge of joining a select band of players who have reached the 150 appearance landmark.

Grounds has played in 149 games for Blues since joining on a Bosman from Oldham Athletic in the summer of 2014.

And his worth has been such that five different managers - Lee Clark, Gary Rowett, Gianfranco Zola, Harry Redknapp and now Cotterill - have all selected him and appreciate his value and reliability.

Grounds was recalled by Cotterill for Blues' uplifting 1-0 defeat of Cardiff City last Friday, one of the new Manager's key first acts.

Cotterill wanted a better balance to the back four and has stressed the importance of partnerships developing and being enhanced.

"Jonathan Grounds is a bit of an unsung hero," said Cotterill.

"I don’t think Jonathan quite gets the credit.

“People always see . . . because he’s not necessarily that dynamic left-back who flies down the left wing all the time.

"He has Jacques Maghoma in front of him, who does do the hard yards. They have got a good relationship, those two - and that's important.

“Obviously I worked with Jonathan last year. He’s an intelligent footballer, you know. You don’t have to tell him many times. You explain something to him and he understands it."

Most recently, Maxime Colin had been deployed at left-back with Emilio Nsue on the right. Cotterill switched Colin to his more natural position for the Bluebirds visit.

“It is very difficult when you are playing a back four of four right footers,” said Cotterill. “You need a bit of a blend and balance.

“So with that back four I just felt having that left-footer there (Grounds) gave us a bit more balance and composure, because you can just let that ball roll across your body a little bit more rather than having to take the ball back on your right foot if you are right-footed.

“It means you (if a right-footer) are actually going back into traffic rather than opening the pitch up a little bit more for us to run."

On the theme of partnerships, something Cotterill mentioned in his programme notes - 'teams within a team' - he said: “Sometimes it’s not the man next to you, it’s the man in front of you.

“You have a look at Jonathan: he had Jacques in front of him. They know each other’s game, they know what angles to make for each other, they know what each other needs." 

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