Writer: Gavin Cooper
Date:Friday March 28 2008
28th March 2008
This match could be a very defining moment for both sides as City have nearly a full squad to pick from in a very long time and although they only picked up one point last week; they did not lose ground on the all important sixth place in the league.Birmingham on an even worse run than ourselves of one win in twelve league matches need to start winning to avoid dropping into the championship at the end of the season.
The question now for City and Sven now that he has such riches in the squad and substitute Elano showed a lot more against Bolton last week; who will be the starting eleven.
Sven talks about Alex McCleish: "I think he`s a very good manager.
"I don`t know him very well, but I met him the other day at a League Manager`s Association meeting and I think he`s doing a good job."
Sven then talks about facing relegation teams: "It`s just the way it is and you don`t know anything about that when the fixtures come out.
"It means it`s another very, very difficult game, Birmingham are fighting for their lives, as were Bolton. It`ll be another battle and we have to be prepared again.
"When you play in the Premier League or any other top league in Europe you have to be prepared for everything - bad weather, different styles of football, many more times you have to battle than play wonderful football. That is football today."
Martin Taylor could return to the side for the first time since his infamous tackle on Eduardo da Silva after completing a three-match suspension.
He is likely to slot in at centre-back in place of Liam Ridgewell, who begins his own two-game ban after collecting a tenth yellow card of the season. Franck Queudrue and Rafael Schmitz are also in a position to replace him.
James McFadden is closing in on a quick return to action following knee surgery but will not be considered until the next game against Wigan at the earliest.
Olivier Kapo could feature following a hamstring problem, while Mauro Zarate will be hoping to keep his place after netting his first goal for the club against Reading.
Now he is getting back to fitness; he can be a real handful in and around the box and has scored against City in the past.
Elano and Felipe Caicedo both came on as substitutes against The Trotters and may be promoted to the starting line-up, while Emile Mpenza is also in contention after turning down the chance to drop down to the Championship on loan.
Eriksson will welcome Dietmar Hamann back from suspension and young midfielder Michael Johnson should also be fit despite having a chest infection this week.
Micah Richards and Michael Ball both remain sidelined with knee injuries along with Valeri Bojinov.
After three weeks on the sidelines Martin has played two games inside five days and should he start will be playing his third in eight days and that should make him really sharp.
City have won the last four premiership encounters between the two teams and should City complete a consecutive double over Birmingham it will be their sixtieth victory over England's central City club.
Rob Styles - the man is clearly a very poor referee and yet he continues to prowl the premiership. He loves to brandish City players with red cards and his ability to be blatantly bloody minded on issues he clearly has got wrong in the past only serves to all football supporters to wonder how Keith Hackett keeps him where he is.
Birmingham will be strong at home; but City have the Indian sign over them and I cannot see that sign being given the boot tomorrow. A narrow victory: BCFC 0 - 1 MCFC.
Chelsea at home on Saturday 5th April with a 3pm kick off - yes you did read right - a 3pm home Saturday match!!!
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Date:Friday March 28 2008
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