Birmingham City: David Cotterill becoming a key man - Rowett

David Cotterill
Cotterill spent a season in the Premier League with Wigan in 2006-07

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett has said winger David Cotterill is becoming such an influential player he cannot leave him out of the side.

Cotterill, 27, who has scored his fifth free-kick of the season in Blues' draw at Fulham on Saturday to take his goals tally to seven.

"We were ribbing him that it was about time he scored another free-kick," boss Gary Rowett told BBC WM 95.6.

"It's very difficult to leave him out when he's performing so well."

After Cotterill's strike into the top corner at Craven Cottage, Rowett says his prowess is not down to luck.

"He practises all the time, he has a bag of balls after training and always hits 10 to 20," revealed Rowett.

Deadly David Cotteril: Blues' long-distance specialist in 2014-15
27 Sep: v Fulham (H) - 25-yard strike30 Sep: v Milwall (A) - 25-yard free-kick
29 Nov: Nottingham Forest (H) - 20-yard strike13 Dec: Reading (H) - 20-yard free-kick
20 Dec: Huddersfield (A) - 25-yard free-kick28 Dec: Nottingham Forest (A) - 20-yard free-kick
7 Feb: Fulham (A) - 20-yard free-kick

"When he hits it straight he gets some movement and nearly always makes the keeper make a save.

"To have the accuracy and pick the far corner out on Saturday was another fantastic goal."

The Wales international joined Blues from Doncaster in the summer and Rowett felt he took his time to find his feet at St Andrew's.

"He had a run of games when he wasn't at his best but I spoke to him about it," said the Blues boss.

"When that happens, the temptation is to give them a breather but he's been so influential.

"It's not just his goals, he's also got seven assists so, even when he isn't playing so well, he still influences games."