Squeaky Brum Time
As the season draws to a close and the race for the title intensifies, the battle against relegation also begins to reach a fever pitch, and with the bottom of the table being such a closely fought campaign this year there is still time for several twists and turns before the end.
This article will look at the holder of the first piece of domestic silverware of the season, Birmingham City.
The second City's blue and white contingent will be thankful for the international break currently underway as it offers an opportunity for the convalescence of several key Birmingham players. Recent injuries have plagued the normally resilient midland squad, with stalwarts like Scott Dann, James McFadden, Barry Ferguson and Lee Bowyer out injured. Add to this Craig Gardner, Martin Jiranek and Nikola Zigic as well as Seb Larsson and David Bentley (both to a lesser extent) and the list makes grim reading.
Birmingham's relatively small squad has meant calling a hideously error prone Curtis Davies and inexperienced youngsters, Nathan Redmond and Jordan Mutch (who have both impressed), into the starting team.
The injuries have also highlighted Birmingham's over-reliance on a few players, namely Barry Ferguson and former figure of fun, Nikola Zigic, without whom goals have been hard to come by. Birmingham are also blighted by a long term injury to Scott Dann. Czech enforcer Martin Jiranek has impressed since coming into the first team but a succession of injuries have seen him replaced by Curtis Davies, a player completely lacking in first team football in the long term who has looked uncomfortable and has made at least one costly mistake every time he has played.
Ultimately, Birmingham have a decent fixture list in the final stages of the season, playing only Chelsea of the traditional top four and Tottenham too, both of whom may be involved in distracting European fixtures. They also welcome the likes of Bolton, Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers to St Andrews but form will have to pick up following a dire loss to Wigan.
Manager Alex Mcleish has already worked one managerial miracle this season, taking an unfancied side to Carling Cup glory, and he now must perform another to cement himself as one of the most successful Birmingham managers of recent times. He has proven himself more than capable and will back himself to save the club from what would be a depressingly familiar sensation for the fans, relegation.
A relegation would be catastrophic for the allegedly financially troubled club, and it would likely see the departure of several big names like Scott Dann and Roger Johnson, both of whom should stay (if Birmingham stay up) now that Birmingham have European football to look forward to next season.
Looking at their fixtures, Birmingham can be reasonably expected to escape their predicament. Bear in mind they are a mere four points from twelfth position with a game in hand. Wins against a Sunderland team with little to play for and a fairly uninspiring Fulham alongside away draws against Wolves and Newcastle should be attainable.
Do you agree or are Birmingham destined for the drop? Let me know below