By Tony Leighton
Striker Lee Novak is reunited with former manager Lee Clark and aiming to help Birmingham City push for promotion from The Sky Bet Championship.
Novak's recent move to St Andrew's from Huddersfield Town was the second time he had been signed by Clark, who when in charge of the Terriers had taken him from non-league Gateshead in 2009.
The now 24-year-old responded with a four-season run of consistency as Huddersfield reached the Football League Play-Offs three years in succession, finally clinching promotion in 2012 and Novak thus spending his first campaign as a Championship player last term.
Now he has switched to a club looking to regain the Premier League place which was lost two years ago and is delighted to be playing once more under Clark, who became Blues manager at the start of last season.
Novak told football-league.co.uk: "Lee Clark has been a massive influence on my career and the chance to work with him again was one of the key reasons why I decided to join Birmingham.
"He took a chance on me when he signed me from non-league for Huddersfield and thankfully it paid off.
"He really helped me to develop as a player and so when I got chance to link up with him again at a massive club like Birmingham, it was a no-brainer."
Novak feels he is now fully attuned to life in the Championship after a tough 2012/13 campaign that saw Huddersfield finish 19th in the table while Blues, after an inconsistent first half of the season, ended up seven points below the Play-Offs in 12th place.
"I played against some very experienced central defenders, a number of them internationals, last season," he noted, "and I did find it hard to adjust.
"But eventually I settled into the Championship, which I think is a great division to play in, and I was happy with the way I was playing.
"I always give my all, the manager knows that well, that's one of the reasons he's signed me and that's what I'll be giving Birmingham from day one of the season.
"I think it will be a very tight league, just like last season when I felt that apart from Cardiff the teams were pretty evenly matched right through the division.
"Birmingham did really well at the back end of the season, and if we can build on that then there's no reason why we can't have a really good push for promotion."
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