Birmingham v Newcastle

14 February 2011 11:56
Birmingham striker Cameron Jerome may return to the starting line-up after dropping to the bench against Stoke.The virtual ever-present front man impressed after replacing ex-Newcastle forward Obafemi Martins on Saturday. [LNB]Newcastle may also make changes up front after drawing a blank at Blackburn, with new signing Shefki Kuqi and Nile Ranger pushing for a start. [LNB]Midfielders Dan Gosling and Stephen Ireland have outside chances of playing after long-term knee injuries. [LNB][LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Injured: Dann (hamstring), McFadden (knee), Valles (foot) [LNB]Newcastle[LNB]Doubtful: Gosling & Ireland (both knee) [LNB]Injured: Ameobi (fractured cheekbone), Ben Arfa (broken leg), S Taylor (hamstring), Smith & R Taylor (both ankle) [LNB][LNB] MATCH PREVIEW Birmingham were in the relegation zone on 5 February, but a third successive victory in 10 days would elevate them into the top half of the table at the expense of Newcastle.[LNB] Ziggy has become a fixture in the team as he's become more aggressive. We know he's capable of finishing. If we get that type of delivery to him in the box, there's not a lot of defenders who can live with a guy that size Alex McLeish on Nikola Zigic The Blues, who have not been higher than 11th since September, also have a Wembley date in the Carling Cup final at the end of this month and their upturn in fortunes has coincided with the blossoming of striker Nikola Zigic. [LNB]The second most expensive signing in Birmingham's history has rarely stood out this season, which is no small feat for the tallest player in the Premier League. But the 6ft 8in targetman has slowly come to terms with the division's physical demands and scored in the last three matches, including successive winners. [LNB]Goalscoring has not been a problem this season for Newcastle, although the departure of top scorer Andy Carroll has left them grasping for their best strikeforce. They were dominant at Blackburn on Saturday but were unable to find the goal that would have given them a first win in five matches. [LNB][LNB] MATCH FACTS Head-to-head[LNB]• The last four league meetings at St Andrew's have ended in draws. Birmingham have not won at home to Newcastle in eight attempts since a 3-0 top-flight victory in September 1977. [LNB]• Newcastle are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League games against Birmingham (W3, D4) since a 1-0 home defeat in August 2003. [LNB] Have your say on this match Birmingham[LNB]• The Blues are unbeaten in three matches and have won back-to-back league games for the first time in 14 months. [LNB]• There have been just 26 goals scored at St Andrew's in the Premier League this season, fewer than at any other ground in the top flight. [LNB]• Nikola Zigic has scored in three successive Premier League matches. He is the first Birmingham player to do so this season. [LNB]• Loanee Matt Derbyshire could make his 100th English league appearance. [LNB]Newcastle[LNB]• Newcastle are winless in their last five league matches, drawing four of them. [LNB]• They have scored the most goals outside of the top five (40). [LNB]• Kevin Nolan needs to score once more to reach 50 goals in his top-flight career. [LNB][LNB] LEADING GOALSCORERS [LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Gardner & Zigic: 7 goals (5 league) [LNB][LNB]Newcastle[LNB]Nolan 10 goals (10 league); Ameobi: 7 goals (4 league) [LNB]NB. Carroll scored 11 goals (11 league) for Newcastle[LNB][LNB] MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Lee Mason [LNB]Assistant referees: Andy Madley & Paul Thompson [LNB]Fourth official: Dean Whitestone [LNB][LNB] LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS Birmingham (W1-0 v Stoke, h): Foster; Carr, Johnson, Jiranek, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Gardner, Bentley, Zigic, Martins (Jerome 75). Subs not used: Doyle, Bowyer, Phillips, Fahey, Beausejour, Davies. [LNB]Newcastle (D0-0 v Blackburn, a): Harper; Simpson (Perch 76), Williamson, Coloccini, Enrique, Barton, Tiote, Nolan, Gutierrez, Best (Kuqi 90), Lovenkrands (Ranger 77). Subs not used: Krul, Campbell, Guthrie, Ferguson.

Source: BBC_Sport