Gary Rowett on the two players who get kicked in Birmingham City training

Birmingham City duo Jon Toral and Diego Fabbrini have not been selected in the team yet.

Gary Rowett has told Birmingham City’s official site that both Diego Fabbrini and Jon Toral get kicked all over the place… even by their own teammates.

Fabbrini and Toral are Birmingham’s two most creative influences, and they are battling it out to take the number 10 spot in Rowett’s team.

In recent weeks the pair have clearly been targeted by opposition sides, who have looked to press quickly when the attacking midfielders have been in possession.

However, Rowett insists that neither of the pair will be fazed by the rough-hand tactics, as they are fouled every day in Birmingham training.

"When you watch Diego and Jon in training, they both get kicked from pillar to post every single day but they are pretty robust,” Rowett said.

"Sometimes you would have two/three players across trying to block up space on his side of the pitch.

"I think players just have to be clever, don't they? If a player is marked that closely there has to be space on the pitch somewhere else. That's what good players have to do.”

Fabbrini was brought to Birmingham in the January transfer window, and he has had to be patient so far.

The Italian has generally had a rotational role, with Rowett seemingly not keen to put him in the same team as Toral.

The Blues are not willing to sacrifice their defensive solidarity, to put the duo on the pitch at the same time - at this stage of the season.

This policy has been criticised by sections of Birmingham’s support, especially after the Midlands side were beaten 2-0 by Queens Park Rangers last weekend.

Birmingham are now in eighth place in the Championship table, but they are only four points away from the play off places.

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