Birmingham City: Alberto Escobar in as assistant coach to replace Paco Herrera

Alberto Escobar was part of Fulham's backroom team the day they beat Aston Villa to win promotion to the Premier League in May 2018
Alberto Escobar was part of Fulham's backroom team when they beat Aston Villa to win promotion to the Premier League in May 2018

Birmingham City have appointed Spaniard Alberto Escobar as assistant coach following Paco Herrera's unexpected return to Spain.

Escobar, 50, will fill the gap on boss Pep Clotet's backroom team left by the departure of ex-Liverpool number two Herrera, 66, for family reasons.

Former Spanish third-tier striker Escobar began his coaching career with home town club Alicante.

He has had two previous spells in English football at Watford and Fulham.

He worked at Vicarage Road under Slavisa Jokanovic, who then took him to Maccabi Tel Aviv before returning to England in 2015 with Fulham, with whom he won promotion in 2018.

Escobar left Fulham in November 2018 when Jokanovic was succeeded by Claudio Ranieri, and joins Craig Gardner, Xavi Calm and Darryl Flahavan as part of Clotet's match-day backroom team.

Former Southampton and England striker James Beattie is also still employed by Blues as first-team coach.

Beattie, 41, who joined Blues when Garry Monk took over in March 2018 and had been his assistant at all of his previous clubs, has not so far followed his old boss to Sheffield Wednesday. His role with Blues encompasses scouting duties on opposition teams.

Blues are 15th in the Championship before the Boxing Day trip to Blackburn.

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