Wolves v Birmingham

10 December 2010 01:06
Struggling Wolves should be boosted by the return of striker and joint-top scorer Steven Fletcher.The former Burnley player missed last weekend's defeat at Blackburn with a virus but returned to training earlier this week.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has no new injury problems.

On-loan Barcelona midfielder Alexander Hleb is still out with a hamstring injury and striker James McFadden is sidelined with knee ligament damage.



Wolves

Injured: Craddock (hip), Edwards (thigh), Guedioura (broken leg), Henry & Kightly (both knee), Jones (foot)

Birmingham

Injured: Hleb (calf), McFadden (knee)



MATCH PREVIEW Sunday's clash is the first of a derby double-header for Wolves, who face arch-rivals West Brom next weekend.

Winning ugly is about not taking chances in the wrong areas. We need to be hooking the ball on when it needs to be hooked on, heading it, winning all the duels and tackles Wolves manager Mick McCarthy With Wanderers almost as close to the bottom of the table as it is possible to be, now would be a perfect time for Mick McCarthy to oversee a league victory over Birmingham, something he hasn't achieved in six previous attempts as Wolves manager.

Even the usually low-key McCarthy accepts how damaging a home derby defeat could be for the morale of the team and the fans, saying that Sunday's match is "a bit more than three points now".

Most visiting teams would settle for a point in a local derby but draws have been something of a curse for Birmingham this season with nine stalemates the reason the Blues are hovering dangerously above the drop zone rather than challenging for Europe.



MATCH FACTS Head-to-head

• Birmingham are unbeaten in nine league matches against Wolves since a 2-1 defeat at Molineux in the second tier of English football in December 2001.

• Both sides have scored 17 goals this season - but Birmingham have conceded 19 to Wolves' 30.



Have your say on Sunday's derby Wolves

• Wolves have lost six of their last eight league matches, including two of their last three at home.

• They are the only team without a clean sheet in the Premier League this season. Their last one came in a 0-0 draw at Fulham on 17 April.

• Wolves have conceded 30 goals in this season's Premier League, more than any other team.

• All of Wolves' five wins this season (three league, two League Cup) have come at Molineux.

Birmingham

• City have recorded only two league wins in their last 14 games but they are unbeaten in their last four.

• Birmingham have had nine draws this season - only Fulham can match that number.

• The Blues haven't won away from home this season. Their last away win was a 2-1 victory at Portsmouth in March.

• Cameron Jerome has scored three goals in the last five league matches against Wolves.



LEADING GOALSCORERS

Wolves

Ebanks-Blake: 4 goals (4 league); Fletcher: 4 goals (3 league)



Birmingham

Gardner: 5 goals (4 league); Zigic 4 goals (2 league)



MATCH OFFICIALS Referee: Martin Atkinson

Assistant referees: Andy Newbold & Ceri Richards

Fourth official: Stuart Attwell



LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS Wolves (L0-3 v Blackburn, a): Hennessey, Zubar, Mouyokolo (Ebanks-Blake 46), Berra, Elokobi, Ward, Mancienne (Hunt 52), Milijas, Foley, Doyle, Jarvis. Subs Not Used: Hahnemann, Stearman, Bent, Winnall, Doherty.

Birmingham (D1-1 v Tottenham, h): Foster, Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Gardner, Ferguson, Beausejour (Murphy 80), Bowyer (Larsson 71), Fahey (Zigic 60), Jerome. Subs Not Used: Taylor, Derbyshire, Michel, Jiranek.

Source: BBC_Sport