Saturday, 5 March 2011
Barclays Premier League
|Home Team||Score||Away Team||Time|
- Birmingham 50%
- West Brom 50%
Barclays Premier League
Venue: St Andrew’s Date: Saturday, 5 March Kick-off: 1245 GMT
Coverage: Watch live on Sky Sports 2 and highlights on Match of the Day; listen on BBC Radio 5 live and local radio; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles
Birmingham have reported no fresh injury concerns following Sunday’s Carling Cup final win over Arsenal.
Defender Roger Johnson was visibly struggling with a calf injury during the game but is expected to be fit.
West Brom go into this match with a clean bill of health and head coach Roy Hodgson may be tempted to name an unchanged line-up.
That would see Scott Carson continue in goal and Abdoulaye Meite keep his place in defence.
Doubtful: Johnson (calf)
Injured/unavailable: Dann (hamstring), McFadden (knee), Valles (foot)
St Andrew’s welcomes home its conquering heroes as Alex McLeish’s Birmingham City side return to the field for the first time since their historic Carling Cup triumph.
Winning the cup was one of those things you dream about as a kid. We have to savour it and no-one can take away from us what happened on Sunday. But we now move onto the serious stuff in the league and making sure we stay up
Birmingham boss Alex McLeish
But the victory parade has been put on hold until Sunday, as attention turns from celebration to relegation and a derby date with West Midlands rivals West Brom.
Both sides are scrapping for top-flight survival and will see victory in this fixture as the perfect launch pad for the relegation run-in. Successive 1-1 draws with Wolves and Stoke have kept West Brom out of the bottom three, and new boss Roy Hodgson has already brought a more solid look to a side that had shipped 51 goals in 26 league games before he took charge.
Birmingham’s biggest concern is at the other end of the pitch, and McLeish may be tempted to pair a rejuvenated Nikola Zigic with Wembley hero Obafemi Martins to help transform Blues’ status as the division’s lowest scorers.
A win over their local rivals would add to the feelgood factor and potentially lift Blues five points clear of trouble. Then the weekend’s celebrations can resume.
• West Brom’s only win in their last five league matches against Birmingham was 3-1 at the Hawthorns earlier this season.
• Eight of the nine goals West Brom have scored against Birmingham in the Premier League have come in the second half.
• Birmingham are the division’s lowest scorers with 25 goals. According to Opta stats, they have fired in just 87 shots on target this season, fewer than any other side in the division.
• Along with Blackburn’s Ewood Park, St Andrew’s has seen the fewest number of goals scored in the Premier League this season (28).
• The Blues have lost just three of their last 29 Premier League games at St Andrew’s.
• Both Barry Ferguson and loanee Matt Derbyshire could make their 100th English league appearances.
• The Baggies have drawn four of their last five Premier League matches and the last three in a row.
• They have gone a club record 26 Premier League games without a clean sheet. Their only clean sheet this season came in the second game of the campaign, a 1-0 home win over Sunderland.
• Roy Hodgson has won just one of his last 28 away matches as a Premier League coach.
• Carlos Vela has scored in his last two games for West Brom, earning a point in each instance.
Zigic: 8 goals (5 league); Gardner: 7 goals (5 league)
Odemwingie: 9 goals (9 league); Tchoyi: 4 goals (3 league)
Referee: Mike Jones
Assistant referees: Darren Cann & Trevor Massey
Fourth official: Michael Oliver
LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS
Birmingham (L0-2 v Newcastle, h): Foster, Ridgewell, Carr, Jiranek (Murphy 73), Johnson, Bentley, Larsson (Phillips 76), Ferguson, Gardner, Martins (Jerome 58), Zigic. Subs not used: Fahey, Beausejour, Bowyer, Doyle.
West Brom (D1-1 v Stoke, a): Carson; Reid, Meite, Olsson, Shorey, Brunt, Scharner, Dorrans, Mulumbu (Tchoyi 73), Thomas (Vela 82), Fortune (Odemwingie 73). Subs not used: Myhill, Morrison, Tamas, Jara.
Birmingham v West Brom