Cotterill targets Premier League return with Birmingham

Date published: Monday 2nd October 2017 7:54

A return to the Premier League remains the aim for Birmingham but Steve Cotterill’s immediate priority as the club’s new manager is to lift his players.

Cotterill, who was Harry Redknapp’s assistant for the final three games of last season when the pair saved Blues from relegation, has returned to succeed Redknapp in the St Andrew’s hot seat.

The 53-year-old was appointed on Friday on a two-and-a-half-year contract and watched from the stands the following day as his side were thrashed 6-1 at Hull.

That result left Birmingham third-bottom of the Sky Bet Championship table heading into a two-week international break that Cotterill wants to make the most of.

“For this club the Premier League is everything. It is a Premier League club,” said Cotterill.

“The people who work here are Premier League. We have Premier League supporters and a Premier League fanbase. And we have to make sure we do our best to get back up there.

“But that is a long-term plan. The short-term plan is to get away from a relegation zone. There has to be a short-term plan for every long-term plan.

“My priority is to get on the training ground with the players. That is where I want to be.

“I want to get to know the lads. I only had about a month with them last season. It takes a long time to get the ingredients for a person and work out what makes them tick.

“They will have a manager who will be strong, but a manager who will be strongly behind them.”

Cotterill is Birmingham’s fourth manager in less than a year, with Gary Rowett’s surprise sacking in December preceding the departures of Gianfranco Zola and Redknapp, and chief executive Dong Ren hopes this latest appointment brings a period of stability.

“He (Cotterill) has a proven record and it is time for some stability now,” he said.

“I know we have always been labelled foreign owners and we like to keep sacking managers, but the longer Steve Cotterill stays here the more likely we will get to the Premier League sooner.”

Birmingham resume their Championship campaign after the international break with a home game against league leaders Cardiff on October 13 in what will be Cotterill’s first game in charge.

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