Fulham v Birmingham

26 November 2010 11:45
Fulham are facing a striker shortage with Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele sidelined, and Andrew Johnson a doubt with a slight hamstring strain.Diomansy Kamara could make just his third start of the season alongside Clint Dempsey, if Johnson misses out. [LNB]Birmingham are still without top scorer Craig Gardner, although Lee Bowyer proved an able deputy last week with the winner against Chelsea. [LNB]Goalkeeper Maik Taylor remains on the sidelines, as does James McFadden. [LNB][LNB]Fulham[LNB]Doubtful: A Johnson (hamstring) [LNB]Injured: Dembele (ankle), Halliche (thigh), Senderos (Achilles), Stoor (groin), Zamora (leg) [LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Injured: Gardner (ankle), McFadden (knee), M Taylor (shoulder)[LNB] MATCH PREVIEW Fulham's encouraging start to the season has been undermined by a run of four defeats from their last seven league games. Mark Hughes' men also tamely succumbed to his former side Manchester City last weekend to leave them in a season low position of 17th. [LNB] I think we're in a false position - we're a much better team than we showed last weekend Chris Baird, Fulham defender Birmingham, on the other hand, have lost just one of their last six league games. Just the tonic for boss Alex McLeish, who celebrates his third anniversary at the helm on Sunday. He will be hoping his side can deliver him the present of a west London double, with the Blues' trip to Craven Cottage coming seven days after a first win over champions Chelsea for 30 years. [LNB]McLeish's first game as City manager was a last-gasp 3-2 win at Tottenham - the Blues have not won a Premier League game in the capital since. Birmingham may have ultimately been relegated at the end of McLeish's first season in charge but he has brought them back up a stronger and more compact unit, as last season's ninth-place finish demonstrated. [LNB]Summer signing Ben Foster excelled against Chelsea last weekend, and now McLeish is looking to his other pre-season recruits to start showing signs they have settled in. Striker Nikola Zigic has scored just three times in 16 appearances for the club, while Alexander Hleb is yet to replicate any of the sparkling displays he demonstrated in three seasons at Arsenal. [LNB]Fulham striker Andrew Johnson is another man looking to return to the form of yesteryear. He completed his first 90 minutes since January last weekend as he continues his recovery from knee and shoulder injuries. The 29-year-old started his career at Birmingham, and was part of the Blues' squad that was promoted to the Premier League after a 16-year exile in 2002. [LNB][LNB] MATCH FACTS Head-to-head[LNB]• The two sides have drawn 15 of their combined 28 Premier League games this term. [LNB]• Fulham have won their last two home league games against Birmingham, but they needed a last-minute winner from Bobby Zamora to secure all three points last season. [LNB]• Birmingham's last win at Craven Cottage was in December 2004. Emile Heskey and Robbie Savage were both among the Blues scorers that day in a 3-2 win. [LNB][LNB] Have your say on this match Fulham[LNB]• The west London side are on a four-game winless streak. [LNB]• Fulham have won just twice in the league this season, against Wigan and Wolves, sides below them in the table. It's their equal fewest number of wins at this stage of a season in their top-flight history, alongside their 1966/67 and 2007/08 campaigns. [LNB]• Mark Hughes' side have conceded 14 of their 17 goals in the first half of matches. [LNB]• Zoltan Gera will be making his 150th English league start if picked. [LNB]Birmingham[LNB]• The Blues are yet to win in seven away league matches this season, an unwanted record shared only by Fulham, Wolves and West Ham. Their last win on their travels came at Portsmouth during March. [LNB]• Alex McLeish's side are yet to concede inside the opening 20 minutes of a league game this term. [LNB]• Cameron Jerome (17) has been caught offside more times than any other player in the Premier League this season. [LNB][LNB] LEADING GOALSCORERS [LNB]Fulham[LNB]Dempsey: 5 goals (4 league); Dembele: 3 goals (2 league); Gera & Zamora: 3 goals (1 league) [LNB][LNB]Birmingham[LNB]Gardner: 4 goals (3 league); Jerome & Ridgewell: 3 goals (3 league) [LNB][LNB] MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Howard Webb [LNB]Assistant referees: John Flynn & Andy Garratt [LNB]Fourth official: Roger East [LNB][LNB] LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS Fulham (L1-4 v Man City, h): Schwarzer, Baird, Hangeland, Hughes, Salcido, Davies, Murphy, Etuhu (Kamara 64), Duff (Gera 46), Dempsey, A Johnson. Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Kelly, Pantsil, Dikgacoi, Greening [LNB]Birmingham (W1-0 v Chelsea, h): Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Fahey, Jerome, Zigic (Hleb 72). Subs Not Used: Doyle, Phillips, Derbyshire, Michel, Beausejour, Jiranek

Source: BBC_Sport