MATCH PREVIEW: Blues V Burton Albion – season defining game?

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Garry Monk’s rejuvenated side return to the stomping ground of St Andrews tomorrow afternoon, looking to build on the current momentum.

With three straight victories over Hull, Ipswich and Bolton respectively, another three points at home could set the ‘Great Escape’ in stone come Saturday night.

A win could propel Blues up to 18th in the best case scenario, overtaking Bolton, Reading and Hull. However, Nigel Clough will be looking to see some fight for his team who are 8 points off safety.

Burton have very much been the bogey team for Blues, losing all three championship meetings. However, the 1-0 triumph in the FA Cup in January will provide Monk’s men with another shot of confidence heading into this one.

Team News

Blues

Che Adams starts his three-match ban after a reckless tackle against Bolton midweek, despite the club’s best efforts to appeal.

His absence leaves us short in attacking options and could force Monk to look to the youth setup again. Although it seems likely Boga will jump back into the side, with Jota moving up the pitch to play behind Jutkiewicz.

Sam Gallagher is still a doubt for this one after suffering a calf injury. Craig Gardner could also be in contention after missing Tuesdays game with a hamstring problem, but he has returned to training this week. Isaac Vassell remains sidelined.

“I don’t think he’ll make the weekend,” said the Blues boss.

“He didn’t train today so it’s very unlikely he’ll start, although maybe he’ll be a possibility for the bench. 

Burton

Burton will hope in-form winger Lloyd Dyer will be fit to play after recieving a knock in the draw against Middlesbrough on Monday.

Forward Lucas Akins (hamstring) is nearing a return and he will be assessed along with Darren Bent (illness) and Jacob Davenport.

Head to head

BLUES

Birmingham have won 40%, drawn 10% and lost 50% of their last 20 home games.

Birmingham have scored in 50% of their last 20 home games.

Birmingham have kept a clean sheet in 8 of their last 20 home games, going on to win 6 and draw 2 of these matches.

BURTON

Burton have won 25%, drawn 25% and lost 50% of their last 20 away games.

Burton have scored in 50% of their last 20 away games.

Burton have kept a clean sheet in 7 of their last 20 away games, going on to win 3 and draw 4 of these matches.

Form

Blues – LLWWW
Burton – DLLLD

Quotes from the manager

GM on keeping the foot on the gas:

“For me this is the most important and biggest game of the season for us. Burton are fighting for their lives no one is going to come and roll over for us.”

“There’s no expecting us to win just because we’ve won three. We have to go into the game, the players, the staff and the fans fully committed to make sure we give ourselves the best chance in this game.”

“For me Burton, especially in recent games they know what they are and try and play to their strengths. If anything, they’ve been very unlucky not to accumulate more points in recent games than they have.”

“The players are fully aware of that and there is no complacency whatsoever. You can’t afford that. Just because you’ve won three games. We can’t lose focus and we know that.”

GM on Burton threat:

“I think defensively they’re going to be very solid and make it very difficult for us. They have good players offensively as well.”

“They’ve got some good experience. If you look at Dyer, Akins, Sordell. These are experienced players at this level and you’ve seen already from their games that they can be a threat and score goals.”

“We’re going to have to be right on our game. But that’s what we’re preparing for and also try and impose ourselves on them. It’s a big game for both teams, but the three points is our only aim and the only thing we’re thinking about.”

“They’re a direct opponent in the same situation we’re in. We’re in a dog fight. We’re both fighting for our survival and we made to make sure we do our job and come out on top.”

The ref – Darren Bond

The Lancashire-based official has refereed 36 games so far this season, where he has produced a total of 119 yellow cards and seven reds.

The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship home fixture against Sunderland in January.

Blues won that match 3-1 and there were six players booked in total; including Jonathan Grounds, David Davis and Cheikh Ndoye for the hosts.

Prediction

We’re going for another 1-0 win as this one isn’t going to be easy. Hopefully the players can grind out another performance and steer us to safety infront of another bumper crowd.

Let us know your predictions in the comment section below or tweet us @bcfcfollowers

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