Blues midfielder Reece Brown is once again knocking on the first team door with impressive performances in training
It's been a tough second season in the first team for Birmingham City starlet Reece Brown, having only made one substitute appearance this campaign following his electric emergence last year.
Brown had been out of the first-team picture for some time but good performances in training and for the Development Squad have seen him getting closer to being involved on matchday, with the young midfielder making the trip to Derby as the "19th" man to cover any injuries in the warm-up - a role he has fulfilled more than once in recent weeks.
Although he isn't the tallest or the biggest of players, Brown had shown in his brief foray in the first team last season that he possessed superb vision and creativity, being able to dictate play in the centre of the park which belied his youth. Confident in his abilities, Brown can play in a holding role or as a more advanced playmaker - both of which suit the 4-2-3-1 formation Gary Rowett routinely employs.
With the suspension of Stephen Gleeson following his stamp on Alex Pritchard in the recent home win against Brentford and the poor form of Callum Reilly, Brown is close to getting his place back in the squad and could be involved in the upcoming weeks as Rowett looks to experiment more with the Blues being safely ensconced in mid-table.
The 19-year-old midfielder made his debut for the Blues as a substitute in their game against Burnley in September 2013, and was described by then-manager Lee Clark as "the only player who probably enhanced his reputation from the night" as Birmingham lost 3-0.
However, after signing a new two-and-a-half year professional contract in January 2014, Brown's star began to wane and he was sent out on loan to Notts County at the start of the 2014/15 season. The Dudley-born starlet made four appearances for the Magpies before his loan spell was cut short by injury.
As Rowett looks to put together his plans for next season, Brown will be anxious to get back into the first team to show that he should be considered more of an integral part of the squad setup in the upcoming season.