MATCH PREVIEW: West Brom away

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Blues have been on their worst run so far this season; four straight defeats and it doesn’t get any easier as Monk and his men make the short trip across the city to West Brom.

Blues also haven’t been able to find the net in the last four games, so fans will be hoping Che Adams and co. have their shooting boots on in front of the Sky cameras.

TEAM NEWS

Monk will be looking for a response from his team as they now sit just five points above the relegation zone following the nine-point deduction.

However, there is positive news with Monk having a fully fit squad at his disposal – a rare sight this season.

Maxime Colin returns after sustaining a hamstring injury at Hull, ruling him out of the derby against Villa. Defender Marc Roberts also enters the fray as backup.

West Brom, who sit 4th in the table, have no fresh injury concerns going into this one.

LAST TIME OUT

Our last meeting with the Baggies was in September 2018 at home. Jota put us in front within the opening half-hour, but Matt Phillips equalised before the break ensuring the points were shared.

You can read our player ratings for that clash here

WORDS FROM THE MANAGERS

Garry Monk

“It’s the first time in a long time that we’ve had a fully fit squad. We haven’t got the biggest of squads and we’ve managed our way through the season pretty well. To have a fully fit squad at this stage is even more important considering what we have to do now.”

“We performed more than well enough to take all three points against Preston, we were very unlucky to have lost that game, but we need to carry on and show our spirit and togetherness, we are motivated more than ever.”

“Three points at West Brom would be a fantastic response, every team at this stage is fighting for something, we are facing a difficult game. We are under no illusions, but judging by the reaction of the players we are ready to battle. I am sure that will shine through.”

“It will be a tough game in a difficult environment, but we have done well against the top sides in this league so we will look to carry that on.”

Jimmy Shan

“It’s massive, because the stadiums are so close,” admitted Shan. “A lot of West Bromwich Albion fans live in Birmingham as well so the rivalry will be very, very big. I think derbies always have an added spice and added flavour and the fans become more excitable. 

“I think looking at them they have worked consistently through the season. Their deduction is at a timely part of the season which won’t help them, and no doubt with it being a local derby, having those points deducted maybe subconsciously they will gain five or 10 percent from somewhere. I think that is probably a natural response with being from where they were to the league position they are in now. 

“Birmingham have worked diligently all season, they have got some good structure, some good organisation and I don’t think their work ethic has been lacking in any of their performances this season so I’m expecting a tough test.

“They are a very well organised team and they have a threat in wide areas. Their wide players caused us some issues in the game at St Andrew’s. Lukas Jutkiewicz is a fantastic target man and he and Che Adams have a great strike partnership. They have some very good players and Garry has got them structured.”  

HEAD TO HEAD

The Baggies come out on top in the head-to-head record. Of the 128 matches that have been played, Albion have triumphed 57 times, there have been 36 draws and Blues have won on 35 occasions.

THE REF

The referee for Friday’s match is David Webb, and he’ll be assisted by Lee Venamore and Robert Merchant – with Gavin Ward as the fourth official.

OUR PREDICTION

We think this one will be a very cagey affair with both teams cancelling each other out. Therefore, we’re going with a 1-0 Blues win, Che with the winner.

What is your prediction? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to keep up to date with the latest Blues news and match updates on our Twitter @bcfcfollowers.

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