Birmingham City manager John Eustace has provided an update on defender Harlee Dean after he missed Blues’ 2-2 draw with Swansea City on Tuesday evening. The 31-year-old didn’t even make the bench as Birmingham moved up to 10th in the Championship.
It was a great end to the night as Boyhood Bluenose Troy Deeney scored in the 89th minute to earn a point late on - helping his side to establish themselves a little firmer into the top half. There was an element of concern for Dean, though, given his absence.
It turns out it was in fact yet another calf problem for the centre half. “He took a slight knock on Saturday after his magnificent performance at Stoke,” Eustace said post-match. “He wasn’t right for today and we will have to see if he will be right for Friday.”
Dean missed plenty of games on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last campaign with a similar issue and then suffered a further setback in pre-season, causing for 10 weeks on the sidelines. The former Brentford man, who has been with Blues since 2017, has been playing at peak levels of late.
Since returning to Eustace’s starting lineup just over a month ago, Dean has helped guide Birmingham to four clean sheets in seven matches. He also netted a goal in a standout performance against Stoke - the game in which he picked up his fresh knock.
With Eustace’s comments fairly vague at the moment, it’s unclear as to whether Dean will be ready for Blues’ clash with Sunderland on Friday. Arguably the best solution, however, is to proceed with caution given the injury history Dean has struggled with.
Dion Sanderson, who moved from right centre back to the middle of a three against Swansea, is a solid option to take Dean’s spot for Blues’ next outing. Marc Roberts, who is set for an imminent return from his own fitness issues, is another contender.