Birmingham City manager John Eustace has confirmed that both Ethan Laird and Tyler Roberts have suffered injury setbacks as he looks to recover from back-to-back defeats.
The Blues enjoyed an excellent start to the campaign, remaining unbeaten in their first five games. However, successive defeats have now followed with losses to Watford at the weekend before going down 2-1 to early table-toppers Preston North End last night.
Despite the recent blip, Birmingham remain seventh, but could slip further down the table tonight with a host of Championship fixtures scheduled this evening.
Both Laird and Roberts arrived in the summer and were thrust straight into the team. Roberts featured in the opening game of the season against Swansea City, but suffered a calf injury in the build up to their second fixture against Leeds United.
Laird arrived at St Andrew’s with a big reputation following his successful loan stint at Queens Park Rangers from Premier League giants Manchester United last season. The 22-year-old started Birmingham’s opening three games, but was withdrawn in the win over Bristol City after suffering a hamstring complaint.
Speaking in the aftermath of last night’s defeat against Preston, Eustace reported the grim news as they prepare to bounce back against QPR on Friday night. [Quotes via Birmingham Live];
“Ethan is still a couple of weeks away. Unfortunately he had a bit of a setback last week with his hamstring.
“Tyler is still a few weeks away as well. That’s all I can say. Every time we think we are getting them close something happens.
“We have to protect them because they have come with injury records. We have to look after them and the most important thing is not the short-term, it’s the long-term, so when we get them back they don’t break down again.”
However, Eustace confirmed that another recently injured summer signing Siriki Dembele is set to return after also suffering a hamstring injury;
“Dembele trained with us yesterday (Monday) which is a massive plus for us. We will have to see how he progresses over the next couple of days.”
Birmingham’s recent injury troubles show what a fantastic job John Eustace is doing at the West Midlands club and they will only improve as they start to return to full strength. Ethan Laird is a player who is predicted to have a bright future and he was highly rated by Manchester United fans, who were disappointed to see him leave on a permanent basis in the summer.
Roberts will not have been seen as a huge miss due to the fact he has featured so little thus far, but he is a player which will certainly add quality to the team. It’s not an ideal situation for the manager, but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.