Birmingham v Man City preview

30 October 2009 11:28
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Manchester City will hope to return to winning ways when they face Birmingham at St Andrews on Sunday.

City let a two-goal lead slip against Fulham at Eastlands last week resulting in a number of disgruntled home supporters booing the team off at the final whistle.

Manager Mark Hughes said he could understand the supporters' frustrations after admitting that the 2-2 draw felt more like a defeat and he will be looking for three points at the weekend to kick-start their season after a run of three consecutive draws.

In fact Hughes' side have taken just six points from a possible 15 in their last five Premier League games, relinquishing their hold on the top four as a consequence.

However all is not doom and gloom at the City of Manchester Stadium. If City win their game in hand on those around them they can go to within a point of local rivals Manchester United in second.

Meanwhile a new sense of optimism has swept Birmingham after Carson Yeung's takeover of the club. The Chinese businessman has promised manager Alex McLeish £40million to spend in January, resulting in a host of big names to suddenly find themselves linked with a move to the Midlands.

The takeover has diverted attention off McLeish slightly after a number of fans became frustrated with the Scots' defensive style of play.

However the former Rangers chief deployed two strikers from the start against Sunderland last time out and was rewarded with a 2-1 win - to end a run of three straight defeats.

The Blues will be looking for another home success at the weekend as they aim to capitalise on what has looked a shaky City defence of late.

Hughes' men have conceded eight in their last five league games but it remains to be seen whether McLeish will continue with his bolder 4-4-2 formation.

Blues newsThe Blues manager could have a host of players returning from injury ahead of the match. However loanee goalkeeper Joe Hart is ineligible to play against his parent club meaning Maik Taylor should step in between the sticks.

Giovanny Espinoza (foot) has featured in just two Carling Cup games since signing in the summer but he could be available.

Fellow defenders Gregory Vignal (hamstring), Martin Taylor (foot) and David Murphy (knee) could also make a comeback.

Midfield duo Damien Johnson (hamstring), yet to play all season, and Keith Fahey (foot) are also nearing full fitness and could come into the reckoning on Sunday.

Striker Marcus Bent (hamstring) could also return and stake a claim for his first appearance of the season.

City newsCity expect defender Kolo Toure and Martin Petrov to be fit for the clash after both missed the midweek 5-1 Carling Cup win over Scunthorpe with minor injuries.

Defender Wayne Bridge and in-form striker Craig Bellamy are also available after both were rested to the bench on Wednesday against the Iron.

The only absentees for City are Nedum Onuoha (thigh) and Robinho (ankle) - who should be back in a week- while Benjani is still out with his troublesome thigh problem.

Possible starting XIs:

Birmingham: Taylor, Carr, R. Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Bowyer, Larsson, Ferguson, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez.

Man City: Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Lescott, Bridge, Ireland, Wright-Phillips, Barry, Bellamy, Tevez, Adebayor.

Source: SKY_Sports

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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