Premier League Countdown - Birmingham City
Football.co.uk continues its club-by-club countdown to the start of the of the new Premier League season with a look at Birmingham City.
Last season - 9th
After regaining their place in the top-flight at the first attempt, Birmingham City silenced their critics by comfortably avoiding relegation back to the Championship.
Not only did they avoid the drop, Alex McLeish's men ended up with a top ten place and even pushed towards a European spot at times during the season.
A fantastic unbeaten run of 13 games stretching from October until January proved to be the highlight of an extremely pleasing campaign for Blues fans.
Joe Hart was outstanding in goal, while Roger Johnson, Barry Ferguson and Cameron Jerome were among the club's top performers.
In Ben Foster (£6m, Manchester United), Nikola Zigic (£6m, Valencia), Enric Valles (Free, NAC Breda)
Out Lee Carsley (Coventry City, Free), Artur Krysiak (Exeter City, Free), Franck Queudrue (Panionios, Free), Gary McSheffrey (Coventry City, Free), Gregory Vignal (Released), Jared Wilson (Released)
Player to watch Nikola Zigic
The loss of Joe Hart is a massive blow, but in Ben Foster they have a keeper with huge potential and more than enough ability to replace the Man City stopper.
Alex McLeish looks certain to keep hold of his most important players but new blood is needed if they are to progress next season.
Nikola Zigic could be an absolute bargain to parter Jerome up-front but some more creative players will help take the pressure off the hard-working but ageing duo of Ferguson and Lee Bowyer.
Prediction - 11th
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