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The Importance Of Aaron

Steve Cotterill has spoken of the value Aaron Wilbraham brings to his team – and it’s not all about goalscoring.

In the week that City’s skipper turned 36, Cotterill took time out in his weekly press briefing to stress the importance of the five-time promotion winner to the club.

Wilbraham has started all 13 of City’s games so far this season, completing nine of them, something Cotterill admitted may not have been in the grand plan once promotion from Sky Bet League One was clinched in April.

"Did I foresee him playing as many games for us this year? Probably not had we got in a striker of similar ilk in the summer. Once we didn’t, yes I did see him playing more minutes,” he told bcfc.co.uk.

“Sometimes the problem is what Aaron also does for the team defensively, which is why he stays on the pitch as long as he does.

“The reason I say that is for set-plays. We got done by a few set-plays earlier in the season, admittedly Aaron was playing, but he’s a 6’3” centre-forward who does fantastically in those areas for us.

“He’ll head more balls out of our box than anyone this season; more than Aden Flint or anyone.

“Sometimes when you reach that 75 or 80-minute mark and you could take him off, there will be a slight worry in me with regards to set-plays. Sometimes I’ll just have to gamble with it and take that risk.”

He added: “Aaron is very important to us. I just wish he was 26 because his experience is invaluable. He can’t run as quick as he could – we all know that because it happens to everyone. However, he’s fantastic in the dressing room; great with the players.

“The one person Jonathan Kodjia would want to thank more than anyone else since he arrived here is Aaron. When you look at the running stats from the [Brighton game] then you’d see Aaron’s stats were almost on a par with Jonathan’s.”