Date: 24th January 2017 at 2:44pm
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David Cotterill is the sort of player that can produce that one moment of quality to win you a game of football or at the very least get a point from it.

However, far too often this season, the Welshman has gone missing in matches and he has regularly been criticised by the fans for his performances.

In the first 20 odd minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Blackburn, Cotterill was pretty involved in the play and often found himself picking up pockets of space in field.

This is obviously something he and Gianfranco Zola have worked on in training and it also allows our right back, in this case Josh Dacres-Cogley, to exploit the space vacated by Cotterill.

He won the penalty early on and it was, all in all, a bright start from Cotterill. The problem was that this positive start didn’t really last and he couldn’t seem to get involved in the game.

In that opening part of the first half, I saw a David Cotterill that looked eager to get on the ball and impress. It was encouraging compared to how he had recently been playing.

Zola switched him over to the left hand side in the second half but it’s so obvious to us all that Cotterill isn’t as comfortable or as effective on that flank.

His lack of pace and natural willingness to cut inside means that he provides a lot less on that side for us. If he wasn’t going missing in games already, then pushing him over to the left really doesn’t benefit us.

Craig Gardner has also straight away taken the role of set piece duty at the expense of Cotterill so that’s another less thing that he can have an impact from.

He is still, however, our best crosser of the ball and he does frequently deliver into the box from wide areas. You could argue that Lukas Jutkiewicz needs more support from the midfield to help get on the end of those Cotterill crosses.

Cotterill must, though, get a lot more stuck into the play. His goal record this season isn’t great but his recent goal at Newcastle should hopefully give him some confidence to push on and perform better.

With the latest addition of Kerim Frei and the encouraging form of Che Adams, Cotterill will really need to find a way of improving his performances because, in Zola`s system, he will need to be involved a lot more than he currently is. If not, he could well find himself back on the bench.

 
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