Preview: Birmingham v Blackburn

19 August 2010 01:34
Birmingham City take on Blackburn Rovers at St Andrew's on Saturday afternoon in a game between two teams that finished in mid-table last season. The Midlanders will be confident of grabbing all three points on offer after they overturned a two-goal deficit at Sunderland last time out. Sebastian Larsson, who set up the goals for Scott Dann and Liam Ridgewell in the opening-day draw, will be keen to strike fear into the visitors' back line. Alex McLeish's men demonstrated their resilience at the Stadium of Light and will want to make home advantage count. However, Blackburn secured a fine 1-0 win over Everton at Ewood Park last Saturday thanks to Nikola Kalinic's effort and will be no pushovers in this one. Although Toffees goalkeeper Tim Howard was less than impressive for Rovers' goal, Sam Allardyce's side held on as they made the perfect start to the season. Beanpole striker Nikola Zigic, who arrived at Birmingham from Valencia in the summer, will be pushing for a start after impressing from the bench in the north-east. Former Blackburn forward Matt Derbyshire completed his season-long loan move to Birmingham from Greek outfit Olympiacos earlier in the week and could make an instant return against his former employers. Rovers are likely to be without talismanic midfielder David Dunn after he limped out of the win over Everton while Vince Grella is still troubled by a calf problem. Veteran striker Kevin Phillips remains out with a thigh injury and is likely to be McLeish's only absentee. Last season, Birmingham beat Saturday's opponents 2-1 at St Andrew's in December. Cameron Jerome stabbed home a scruffy effort after just 12 minutes before he was at it again soon after the interval. Stephen Carr hurtled down the right wing and found Jerome some 12 yards out, enabling him to slide the ball beyond goalkeeper Paul Robinson. Although Ryan Nelsen halved the deficit, it was the hosts that were able to celebrate victory. In the return fixture in March, Rovers gained revenge as they landed a 2-1 success of their own. Former Blues man Dunn caused all the problems as he crashed one home from 20 yards before James McFadden equalised ten minutes after the break. However, Dunn notched his second of the day when he glanced home a header at the near post to hand victory to Rovers.

Source: ESA