The Chalkboard: Garry Monk should keep Jota in central role for Birmingham City’s trip to QPR

Birmingham City will travel to Loftus Road this weekend to face a QPR side who are struggling for form.

On the chalkboard

Garry Monk has established himself as a popular figure amongst the Birmingham supporters this season after taking the club to within touching distance of the play-off places.

The Blues are certainly outside contenders for a spot in the top-six but they have a handful of talented attacking players who are capable of firing them into contention.

One of those players is Jota, Birmingham’s club-record signing. The Spanish winger has struggled to discover his most potent form in recent weeks, but a small tactical change against Nottingham Forest saw him return to goalscoring form.

Monk opted to play the attacker in a more central role at the top of a diamond, and that facilitated a vastly improved performance from start to finish, with his crucial opening goal giving him the confidence to thrive behind the front-two.

Same again against QPR?

QPR have been in poor form in the Championship of late. A midweek FA Cup victory over Portsmouth may have temporarily boosted morale, but Monk’s travelling side will pose a much sterner threat than the League One promotion hopefuls.

The Rs have lost three out of their last four games and have conceded nine goals in the same period, statistics which suggest Birmingham’s creative players could enjoy themselves in the capital.

With Jota moving closer to the potent pairing of Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewicz, the visitors should have the firepower to pour further misery on Steve McClaren’s side.

Monk’s tactical tweak paid dividends against Nottingham Forest last time out, so he should stick with his winning formula to maximise Jota’s influence and help Birmingham take another step closer to the play-offs.