Pep: Five subs will give us added options

Blues youngsters during training with the First Team.
Blues youngsters during training with the First Team.

t gives us more tools to use the squad especially when the games get busier towards the last six.

Pep Clotet.

Pep Clotet feels that the decision to allow up to five substitutions during the remaining games of the season will be a major benefit; particularly with fixtures coming thick and fast during the tail end of the campaign.

The EFL announced the temporary rule change ahead of this week’s restarting of the Championship.

Blues have one of the smaller Championship squads, which means that there are likely to be further opportunities for some of the Club's younger players to get additional game time, with 20 players also now permitted in the matchday squad.

"The fact that we have five subs available will be beneficial for both teams," said Blues' Head Coach.

"It gives us more tools to use the squad especially when the games get busier towards the last six.

"I have watched and analysed a lot of what has happened in Germany (over the last couple of weeks) and it will have some impact.”

With senior players Jacques Maghoma, Jonathan Grounds and Kerim Mrabti leaving, plus Cheick Keita and Jefferson Montero’s loan not being extended, the likes of Jayden Reid, Ryan Stirk, Nico Gordon, Ryan Burke, Miguel Fernandez, Jack Concannon and Kyle Hurst have been part of the first team group since Blues returned to training.

“All of them (the young players) have done a fantastic job during this period they have been training with us," said Clotet

"The three players that we lost, Kerim, Maghoma and Montero were all wingers, which puts us in the position now where we don't have many options.

"But I still think if we're lucky in terms of avoiding injuries we still have a squad that is very comfortable playing game in and game out.

"It's not the best, but I'm satisfied we can be competitive and the fact that we don't have a big squad with a lot of depth, I'm satisfied that we've done a lot of work during the whole season to cope with the situation."

Meanwhile, Clotet believes that Maikel Kieftenbeld is now ready to start games after the Dutch midfielder completed his first full match in 14 months during last weekend's friendly against Wolves.

But he feels that fellow midfielder Jeremie Bela is not yet 100 per cent match fit

"I wanted to give Maikel 90 minutes before Saturday," he added.

"It was not easy to get through. but I am pleased how he and the other players handled that game against Wolves.

"With Jeremie I want to make sure he manages the remaining nine games, he is coming from a massive injury that he recovered very well from, I am on the cautious side with him."