Grounds on the road back

Jonathan Grounds in Under-23s action
Jonathan Grounds in Under-23s action

Jonathan Grounds made a successful return to action after injury for Blues Under-23s.

And Pep Clotet is prepared to utilise his expertise and experience as and when the left-back reaches full fitness and sharpness.

Grounds completed the opening 45 minutes, at centre-half, in the 1-1 PDL draw against Sheffield United Under-23s at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium on Monday.

He had been sidelined since pre-season, when he suffered a calf injury.

"It's good news," said Clotet, who wiped the slate clean for Grounds this July after he spent last season loaned to Bolton Wanderers.

"I'm very happy for him as he had the injury in the summer and it's been a lot of work for Jonathan to get back on the pitch.

"Now it's about him getting fitter, playing a few games for the Under-23s to find his football.

"But it's very positive. Jonathan is good character, very professional and focused. And I am sure he wants to help the team."

Grounds is therefore likely to be involved in Blues next Under-23s match, at Wigan Athletic Under-23s next Monday.

The last of Grounds' 170 appearances in a Blues shirt was at Wolves in April 2018.

That summer the 31-year-old was then informed he would not be in the first team plans, along with David Stockdale and Tomasz Kuszczak.

Grounds didn't have the happiest of times as Bolton lurched from one crisis to another during his loan.

But now he's determined to add to the mix when required in his sixth season at the Club.

"It just shows what it is to be a pro: how many times you step up after a setback," said Clotet.

"And it's same for the team: how many times you step up after a setback. We have done that. We lost 3-0 at Nottingham Forest, we stepped up after. We lost to a very good team against Swansea, and did it again.

"That is the kind of mentality players need to bring to a team and Jonathan knows what that is all about."