Birmingham manager Garry Monk fielded a completely changed team yesterday in his side’s outing to Reading in the League Cup, and it did not pay off.
But with a side that boasted six players under the age of 23, there are still positives for Monk to take from his side’s cup exit.
Both sides were searching for their first win of the season, and this would have been the perfect springboard for Monk’s side to start their season. But with many players that Monk would see as regulars for Birmingham not starting yesterday, he will know that some players will be knocking on the door for a starting place this weekend.
Although youngsters like Omar Bogle may have been frustrated by the lack of service he was given, and Beryly Lubala struggled to make the impact he would have liked, players like Connor Mahoney would have impressed Monk.
The 21-year-old Bournemouth loan looked threatening for the Blues, particularly with his free kicks. The England under-20 international will hope to have worked his way into Monk’s plans for the rest of the season.
Monk would have obviously wanted to win to boost morale around the Birmingham team. But sometimes a clubs cup run can become a distraction, and for a club that will not want to become entangled in a relegation battle, this is a distraction that Monk will be grateful to avoid. But he will be glad to see some of the young talent that the club has perform and impress in their first starts of the season.
As Birmingham travel to Wigan on Friday in the Championship hunting for their first win, familiar faces will be back in the squad, but Monk should be happy with some of his new options moving forward.