Birmingham v Stoke

11 February 2011 12:48
Birmingham goalkeeper Ben Foster has recovered from the thumb injury that forced him to withdraw from England's midweek friendly in Denmark.New signing Obafemi Martins could be in line for his debut after being granted a work permit. [LNB]Stoke boss Tony Pulis has revealed no new injury concerns and is likely to name an unchanged team. [LNB]Ricardo Fuller has returned from compassionate leave but may have to settle for a place on the bench. [LNB][LNB]Birmingham City[LNB]Injured: Dann (hamstring), McFadden (knee), Valles (foot) [LNB]Stoke City[LNB]Doubtful: none [LNB]Injured: Sidibe (Achilles) [LNB][LNB] MATCH PREVIEW Alex McLeish has challenged his Birmingham players to achieve back-to-back wins for the first time in 14 months as they look to scrap their way free of the relegation mire.[LNB] It would be good if we could string some back-to-back wins together now. The players certainly haven't lacked commitment...It's just that back-to-back wins would ease that pressure and lift everyone in terms of increasing confidence levels Birmingham boss Alex McLeish Last weekend's win over fellow strugglers West Ham gave City only their second away win of the season and lifted them three points clear of the Hammers. [LNB]A first clean sheet in 10 outings was an added bonus, but it is up front that the Blues are desperate to improve, with Obafemi Martins set for his debut as McLeish looks to bolster the weakest attack in the division. [LNB]It's over 22 years since Stoke last won at St Andrew's, but they will head to the Midlands without trepidation following a well-deserved 3-2 victory in November's reverse fixture, their first top-flight victory over Birmingham since March 1984. [LNB]They stunned Sunderland with the same scoreline last time out, when Robert Huth struck twice in the last seven minutes to complete a dramatic comeback for the Potters, a morale-boosting victory that lifted Tony Pulis's side into the top half of the table and reinvigorated their bid for a first top-10 finish since 1975. [LNB][LNB] MATCH FACTS Head-to-head[LNB]• Stoke have won only one of their last eight league and cup encounters with Birmingham: November's 3-2 success at the Britannia. [LNB]• The Potters have not won at St Andrew's since a 1-0 victory in October 1988, a run of eight matches. [LNB][LNB] Have your say on this match Birmingham City[LNB]• They have the equal-fewest wins in the Premier League this season: five, the same as Wigan and West Ham. [LNB]• There have been just 25 goals scored at St Andrew's in the Premier League, fewer than at any other ground in the top flight. [LNB]• Loanee Matt Derbyshire could make his 100th English league appearance. [LNB]• Only Stoke (91) have fired in more shots than Birmingham (80) this season. [LNB]Stoke City[LNB]• The Potters are the only team in the Premier League who have not scored a goal in the opening 15 minutes of a match this season. [LNB]• They have drawn the joint-fewest matches in the league this season (3). [LNB]• According to Opta Stats, 55% of the goals Stoke have scored have come from set-pieces, the highest proportion in the top flight. [LNB][LNB] LEADING GOALSCORERS [LNB]Birmingham City[LNB]Gardner: 7 goals (5 league); Zigic: 6 goals (4 league) [LNB][LNB]Stoke City[LNB]Huth: 7 goals (6 league); Jones: 7 goals (5 league) [LNB][LNB] MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Mark Halsey [LNB]Assistant referees: Peter Kirkup & Mike Cairns [LNB]Fourth official: Russell Booth [LNB][LNB] LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS Birmingham City (W1-0 v West Ham, a): Foster; Carr, Johnson, Jiranek, Ridgewell, Bentley, Ferguson, Gardner, Bowyer, Jerome (Larsson 57), Zigic. Subs not used: Doyle, Murphy, Phillips, Fahey, Beausejour, Davies. [LNB]Stoke City (W3-2 v Sunderland, h): Begovic; Wilkinson (Walters 66), Shawcross, Huth, Higginbotham, Pennant, Whitehead, Delap, Etherington, Jones, Carew. Subs not used: Sorensen, Collins, Whelan, Wilson, Pugh, Shotton.

Source: BBC_Sport