Blackburn v Birmingham

08 April 2011 11:18
Blackburn midfielder Steven Nzonzi begins a three-match suspension, but defender Gael Givet is available again after his own ban.Morten Gamst Pedersen has recovered from illness, but Vince Grella will miss the rest of the season after an Achilles operation. [LNB]Birmingham will be without winger David Bentley (groin) and defender Martin Jiranek (toe). [LNB]Strikers Nikola Zigic and Obafemi Martins will face late fitness tests. [LNB][LNB]Blackburn[LNB]Suspended: Nzonzi (three matches) [LNB]Injured: Andrews (groin), Dunn (hip), Grella (Achilles) [LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Doubtful: Martins (groin), Zigic (groin & hip) [LNB]Injured: Bentley (groin), Jiranek (toe) [LNB][LNB] MATCH PREVIEW Blackburn boss Steve Kean has urged his side to treat their last seven games as cup finals, starting with this relegation scrap against fellow strugglers Birmingham.[LNB] The players know how important each game is, I would rather see it as seven cup finals, there are seven games that we must get something out of Blackburn boss Steve Kean Both sides go into the match teetering above the drop zone on 34 points apiece, but with Rovers having played a game extra, defeat at Ewood Park on Saturday could have disastrous consequences. [LNB]Kean's men go into the match off the back of two hard-fought draws against Arsenal and Blackpool, but with no wins since January these are desperate times for Rovers and their Scottish manager, who is the bookmakers' odds-on favourite to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post. [LNB]Birmingham registered their first victory since lifting the League Cup with a crucial 2-1 triumph over Bolton last weekend, and a first win at Ewood Park since 1968 would only further boost Blues' survival prospects. [LNB]Only Wigan have scored fewer Premier League goals than City this season, and with eight-goal leading scorer Nikola Zigic and fellow striker Obafemi Martins given only a 50-50 chance of being fit for Saturday's clash, goalscoring duties are again likely to fall to 37-year-old Kevin Phillips and Cameron Jerome, who has hit more Premier League goals against Blackburn than any other side. [LNB][LNB] MATCH FACTS Head-to-head[LNB]• The last nine matches between Rovers and City in all competitions have ended in home wins. [LNB]• Cameron Jerome has scored five goals in five Premier League appearances against Blackburn, more than against any other side. [LNB]Blackburn[LNB]• Rovers are winless in their last seven league games (D3, L4). It is their longest run without a victory since a nine-match streak between November 2009 and January 2010. [LNB]• Blackburn have only recouped one point from games where they have been trailing this season; the lowest amount in the Premier League. [LNB]• Blackburn have conceded a higher percentage of second-half goals than any other team (69%). [LNB]Birmingham[LNB]• Birmingham have won 20 Premier League games since their promotion in 2009. All but one of those victories have been by a one-goal margin. [LNB]• Birmingham have fired in just 104 shots on target this season, fewer than any other team. [LNB]• Kevin Phillips has scored in all four starts that he has made for Birmingham City in all competitions this season. [LNB]• The Blues have won just two of their last 19 Premier League away games. [LNB][LNB] LEADING GOALSCORERS [LNB]Blackburn[LNB]Kalinic: 6 goals (5 league); Mame Diouf: 6 goals (3 league) [LNB][LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Gardner: 8 goals (6 league); Zigic: 8 goals (5 league) [LNB][LNB] MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Chris Foy [LNB]Assistant referees: Trevor Massey & Bob Pollock [LNB]Fourth official: Anthony Taylor [LNB][LNB] LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS Blackburn (D0-0 v Arsenal, a): Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson, Emerton, Jermaine Jones (Dunn 90), Phil Jones, Nzonzi, Hoilett, Santa Cruz (Roberts 62). Subs Not Used: Bunn, Rochina, Mwaruwari, Hanley, Diouf. [LNB]Birmingham (W2-1 v Bolton, h): Foster, Carr (Bentley 69), Parnaby, Johnson, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Gardner, Bowyer (Fahey 64), Phillips, Jerome (Zigic 76). Subs Not Used: Doyle, Beausejour, Mutch, Davies.

Source: BBC_Sport