Lukas Jutkiewicz insists Birmingham City’s senior professionals are embracing the pressure of Blues’ small squad.
Garry Monk has opted to try to move on several players, some of whom have been at the club for an extended period.
That has left Blues reliant on half-a-dozen home-grown players and while Jutkiewicz accepts the leadership group will have to shoulder the burden, he urged the club’s youngsters to make the most of their extended opportunity.
“We understand it is going to be a tighter group this year, that the onus is going to be on us to try and make the most out of everything we have got,” Jutkiewicz admitted.
“We don’t have an abundance of players so it’s really important us older guys set the standard.
“It’s a little bit of added pressure but it’s something we want to take on board.
“There were several positives from the Norwich draw. We are creating chances, we had a really good shape for most of the game, we countered well on them, we looked fit and strong as a team which is so important in this incredibly physical lead.
“Viv [Solomon-Otabor] coming on and making such a big impact bodes well, because we are going to need a squad this year.
“For him to have a season on loan to come back and stake his claim straight away will do wonders for his confidence and that will help us as a group.”
The 22-year-old was one of five substitutes on Saturday’s bench who have spent time in the club’s youth set-up.
Many more were included on the pre-season trip to Austria and featured in the warm-up games.
“I have been impressed by the youngsters, they are all really good lads to a tee. They have come in with the right attitude, they want to learn, they are hungry,” Jutkiewicz, who was speaking at Birmingham City’s Community football camp, continued.
“And with the circumstances being what they are at the club, we have told them ‘This is an opportunity for you to take’.
“It’s important for them to really grasp it because if the situation was not as it was at the club they might not get that chance. Here the door is definitely open.
“And you hope by the end of the season a couple of them have made a Championship career for themselves.
“You look at Wes Harding at the back end of last season, circumstances allowed him the opportunity to play and he didn’t look back.
“He took his chance and proved what a good player he is – and now he’s an important member of our squad.
“He is an example for the young guys to look to.”
Source : BirminghamMail