Select Page

Cotterill free-kick earns point for Blues

David Cotterill’s stunning first half free kick earned a point for Birmingham City – but they will feel they should have had all three.

Despite falling behind to a fourth minute Hugo Rodallega goal, Blues battled back to record a fourth consecutive Championship draw.

That’s the first time in nearly three years they’ve done that and Cotterill’s brilliant swinging set-piece, his seventh of the season, was as good a goal as any scored since then.

Clayton Donaldson had two good chances to make it 2-1 and Cotterill, Lloyd Dyer and David Davis also had opportunities but none were converted.

The second half was far more cagey and Fulham probably shaded that period in terms of chances created.

But another point to the total keeps the Birmingham bandwagon rolling on as they face Millwall on Tuesday evening.

Initially the visitors struggled to get to grips with Fulham’s midfield diamond and that showed after early on when Lasse Vigen Christensen spotted space between Paul Robinson and Jonathan Grounds.

The Dane found Rodallega who with one touch lifted the ball past Darren Randolph and after keeping opponents scoreless for five halves of football – Blues were behind inside four minutes.

However, one they had sorted out their defensive shape, while Fulham had most possession and looked dangerous, all the clear cut chances were at the other end.

The excellent Davis narrowly missed from just outside the area after ten minutes and Cotterill almost caught Marcus Bettinelli off his line at a corner.

But just before the quarter hour the game was level. Dyer won a free kick near the left corner flag which Cotterill took. The Welshman aimed at the far post and watched in delight as his shot flew inside the top corner. It was trademark Cotterill.

A few seconds later they should have been ahead after Paul Caddis wriggled to the bye-line and picked out Dyer who had followed in at the back only to head too high.

Dyer turned provider on the half hour when his centre was flicked goalwards by Cotterill only for Bettinelli to beat it out.

Clayton Donaldson had two glaring opportunities to mark his 31st birthday with a goal.

First from a lasered 40-yard through ball from Stephen Gleeson which he took on his chest only to slide his shot wide with the keeper to beat.

And then in first half stoppage time he misjudged Cotterill’s deep, left wing cross and headed wide when totally unmarked.

The concern was Blues would pay for their profligacy.

It didn’t look that way early on as they forced a sequence of corners straight after the resumption.

However, Kit Symons’s tactical alterations began to stymie Blues’ counter-attacking aspirations and eventually the hosts began to pick at the seams of the defence.

Ten minutes in Rodallega almost bagged his second when he rifled a low shot at Randolph’s near post, which the Irishman pushed behind.

On the hour Seko Fofana was narrowly wide from the edge of the area and late in the game Rodallega hooked a volley over his shoulder which required a smart save from Randolph.

Birmingham sign Quedrue

Birmingham have completed the signing of left-back Franck Queudrue from Fulham in a deal which could be worth £2.5million.

The 28-year-old has signed a three-year contract and committed himself to Blues until the summer of 2010.

He becomes City manager Steve Bruce’s ninth summer signing and Aston Villa defender Liam Ridgewell is also expected to move to St Andrews within the next 24 hours.

Queudrue will provide competition at left-back for Mat Sadler who recently signed a new three year contract.

He will also be reunited with his former Middlesbrough team-mate Stuart Parnaby, who moved from the Riverside on a Bosman free transfer last month.

Birmingham will pay an initial £2million to the Cottagers but the fee could eventually rise by another £500,000 in add-ons.

Queudrue has plenty of Barclays Premier League experience to draw upon in his bid to keep Blues in the top flight after gaining promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship.

Birmingham set to sign Queudrue

Birmingham are set to seal the signing of Franck Queudrue.

The Fulham defender is keen to leave Craven Cottage just 12 months after quitting Middlesbrough for the capital.

A number of clubs including Newcastle have been linked with a move for the talented left-back, but Birmingham now look set to seal a swoop.

Queudrue’s agent Dominique Six confirmed talks were ongoing and a deal should be struck soon.

“Nothing is done yet as we’ve still got a few points to negotiate but we should be fixed on Thursday,” Six told skysports.com.

Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez has already signed Paul Konchesky from West Ham, knowing Queudrue was not in his plans for the new Premier League season.

Fulham reject Taylor reports

Fulham have denied that they have agreed a permanent deal with Birmingham City for goalkeeper Maik Taylor, who is currently on loan with the Blues.

The 32-year-old had been reported to be set to sign a contract with the St Andrew’s outfit, but Fulham say that no deal is near to completion.

An official statement said: “Contrary to recent press speculation regarding Maik Taylor and a reported permanent move to Birmingham City, the club can confirm that no such agreement has yet been reached.

“Fulham can also confirm that, as one of the Premiership’s most in-form goalkeepers, Maik has attracted significant interest from a number of other clubs.

“However, should he not find any of these proposals of interest he would of course be very welcome to return to Fulham at the end of his loan tenure.”

Taylor has made 30 appearances for City this season, having decided to seek first-team football rather than act as back-up to Edwin Van der Sar.

Taylor close to permanent Blues move

Birmingham City are to sign goalkeeper Maik Taylor on a permanent basis, paying Fulham a fee of £1.4 million for the shot-stopper.

The 32-year-old has been in sparkling form for Blues since his temporary move to St Andrews from Fulham.

Birmingham have been trying to negotiate with Fulham and it looks as though a deal is now in the offing, with Birmingham shelling out £1.4 million for Taylor’s services.

Bruce said “I am led to believe that we are very close to completing a deal for him and it is just a case of dotting a few i’s and crossing the t’s.

“There is a fee of £1.4m and the length of the deal is four years. He is 32 but I have no qualms about paying that amount out because he is fit and looks after himself.

“To be fair to Fulham, they have got two outstanding goalkeepers and the one thing everybody wants to do is play on a Saturday. Maik is too good a keeper to be a number two.