Birmingham City news: Aitor Karanka defends key man following Huddersfield draw

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After picking up a morale-boosting victory over Queens Park Rangers last weekend, Birmingham City would have been aiming to back up this performance in their clash with Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.

However, the Blues had to rely on a second-half strike from Marc Roberts to avoid defeat at the John Smith's Stadium in what turned out to be a relatively poor match between two sides who are struggling in the Championship this season.

Following an even first-half, Huddersfield opened the scoring in the 63rd minute as Fraizer Campbell fired a superb strike past Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge to take his goal tally for the campaign to seven.

Undeterred by this setback, the Blues equalised four minutes later as Roberts slotted home from a corner.

Birmingham came close to snatching all three points in the closing stages as substitute Scott Hogan blasted over.

The forward, who has scored six goals this season since joining the club on a permanent basis from arch-rivals Aston Villa last September, was defended by his manager Aitor Karanka after the game despite his miss.

Speaking to the Birmingham Telegraph about Hogan and his Blues team-mates, the Spaniard said: "Nobody needs to apologise because if every single player who made a mistake this season had to apologise we would have them all apologising.

"When you put one hundred per cent on the pitch you don't have to apologise."

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Although Hogan will understandably be disappointed that he couldn't snatch a vital victory for Birmingham in their battle for survival last night, he may take solace in the fact that he has the backing of his manager.

Given that the Blues are only six points clear of the relegation zone in the Championship, they may be in need of some inspiration between now and the end of the season if they are to avoid the drop.

When you consider that Hogan has netted 45 goals during his career at this particular level, it is clear that he knows exactly what it takes to thrive in this division and thus could be a difference-maker for Birmingham in the weeks to come.

With the Blues set to face in-form Barnsley on Saturday, it would be somewhat of a shock if Karanka doesn't select his top-scorer for the fixture at Oakwell.

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