Gary Rowett explains Jon Toral snub

Jon Toral

Gary Rowett reassures Jon Toral that he has a big role to play with Birmingham this season after leaving him out of the 1-0 win over Bolton.

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett has admitted that it was tough to leave Jon Toral out of Tuesday's 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers, but believes that the gamble paid off.

The Arsenal loanee, who is the Blues' second leading goalscorer this season, was a notable omission in last night's starting XI, with Diego Fabbrini handed a first start since re-signing for the club last month.

However, Rowett will have been pleased to see that it was the Italian who set up Clayton Donaldson's 29th-minute winner as City moved three points adrift of the Championship top six.

Despite Fabbrini impressing, the Birmingham boss reassured Toral - who has netted six times this season - that he still has a big role to play in their promotion push.

“It was a big call for me to play him (Fabbrini) instead of Jon,” he told Birmingham's official website. "It's always a real challenge because at this stage of the season you want to play the players who have been playing well for you.

"I just thought Diego is our player as well, we have to look at that also. I spoke to Jon in the week and said he has been really good for us and he will have a massive part to play this season.

"He's certainly not going to be playing a supporting role. I toyed with a plan of getting them both on the pitch but I just felt we would be a little too open and don't think we are quite at that part of the season yet where we need to gamble too much."

Toral, 21, replaced Fabbrini midway through the second half, and went on to catch the eye with a number of superb passes to give his boss something to think about.

The Gunners prospect, who joined from Barcelona in 2011, also impressed on a season-long loan at Brentford last season.

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