Steve Cotterill: Birmingham boss battle-hardened for Championship challenge

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New Birmingham City boss Steve Cotterill takes over at St Andrew's

Steve Cotterill says he is "battle-hardened" for tough jobs after starting work as Birmingham City boss.

The 53-year-old was appointed on Friday and watched from the stands as his new side were thrashed 6-1 by Hull City - a result which left Blues in the bottom three of the Championship.

"I don't think I am coming into any big surprises," said Cotterill, who has signed a two-and-half-year deal.

"Normally I only get a job in the Championship when they are bottom."

The former Nottingham Forest and Bristol City manager, who has also been in charge at Cheltenham, Stoke, Burnley, Notts County and Portsmouth, replaced Harry Redknapp at St Andrew's.

"I have had administrations, two or three sets of owners," Cotterill added. "I haven't walked into any easy situations and I suppose I am a little bit battle-hardened to that."

Cotterill is Blues' fourth manager in less than a year, with Gary Rowett's sacking in December having been followed by the departures of Gianfranco Zola and Redknapp.

He ended last season as Redknapp's assistant for the final three games, helping the club avoid relegation, but turned down the chance to stay on as number two this summer.

"It's a wonderful football club," he told BBC WM. "I cannot speak highly enough of the club and the people who work here.

Steve Cotterill (right) and Harry Redknapp
Steve Cotterill (right) worked with Harry Redknapp for the final three games of last season

"My priority is to get on the training ground with the players. That is where I want to be.

"I want to get to know the lads. I only had about a month with them last season. It take a long time to get the ingredients for a person and work out what makes them tick.

"They will have a manager who will be strong, but a manager who will be strongly behind them."

Short-term aim for long-term success

Cotterill said there was no escaping the fact that the club's owners and supporters expect Birmingham to be in the Premier League.

But he continued: "The short-term plan is to get away from a relegation zone; the long-term plan is to be here for here for the long term.

"If I am here for the long term it means we have been successful.

"For this club that [the Premier League] is everything. It is a Premier League club. The people who work here are Premier League. We have Premier League supporters and a Premier League fanbase. And we have to make sure we do our best to get up there."

The Blues jacket fits

Steve Cotterill
Steve Cotterill began his managerial career at Sligo Rovers in 1995

Cotterill, who was sacked by Bristol City in January 2016, said he feels comfortable at Birmingham and understood what the club was about during his spell at the end of last season.

"The jacket fits. I love the people here," he said.

"I have been very patient waiting for the right job to come along. I could have worked a week after leaving Bristol City and at a few clubs since.

"I know what's possible at this football club, I was born 40 minutes down the road, I am a very, very proud man.

"I have waited a long time for an opportunity like this and I will grab it with both hands.

"Anything you get in life that is worth having, you have to fight for. I am a fighter, but I am a thoughtful one."

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