Date: 24th October 2008 at 4:17pm
Written by:

Wednesday travel to Birmingham on Saturday looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s disappointing defeat at Barnsley and put an end to their poor form on the road this season.

The Owls have been superb at Hillsborough this season, going unbeaten in the league so far, but have yet to repeat their heroics on the road apart from the 2-1 win at Charlton.

The Blues have made an impressive start to the season, sitting top of the pile, though wins at home haven’t been by huge scorelines, the last two being 1-0 wins, and with Blackpool already winning at St Andrews, Wednesday will be looking to get something out of the game.

Vital Quotes:

Brian Laws told the official SWFC website:

‘I believe that going into the Birmingham game, this is anything but a giveaway and we can get a result. Everybody will be expecting Birmingham to beat us because they are top of the league.

‘They aren’t playing particularly well but things are going for them and they are scoring regularly particularly in the late stages of the game,’ he continued.

‘If you look at our away form they will think this is a banker, but the only people that do think we can get something out of it is ourselves. We can go into it a bit more relaxed, the pressure is on them so let’s go out and play some football.’

Blues boss Alex McLeish told the Birmingham Mail:

‘If we stumble to a 1-0 victory again, I will take it. We could have scored more goals and have had less points.

‘So we`ve got to be happy with the way things are going and, in the added knowledge that there is room for improvement, I’m optimistic.’

Birmingham City Team News:

The Blues will be boosted with the return to action of former Everton striker James McFadden to the squad afetr the Scottish international was on the sidelines with a groin injury.

Winger Quincy Owusu-Abeyie could also make a return for City after missing the midweek win over Crystal Palace, and is rated as 50-50 going in to the clash following a thigh injury.

Former Middlesbrough full-back Franck Queudrue is set to continue at left-back with David Murphy doubtful with a knee injury.

Player to watch: Kevin Phillips

The former Sunderland and West Brom has a good goalscoring record against Wednesday and will be hoping to continue that on Saturday to help the Blues stay top of the Championship.

Wednesday Team News:

Owls boss Laws is likely to make a number of changes to the side that fell to a 2-1 defeat at Barnsley in midweek.

Captain Richard Wood is expected to return to the centre of defence after a knock kept him out in midweek, meaning loan signing Lewis Buxton could move to right-back with Tony McMahon recalled by Middlesbrough following his midweek red card.

But despite his options in attack looking bright last weekend, Laws has fresh concerns over Marcus Tudgay and Deon Burton ahead of the match.

Jermaine Johnson will be available for selection following his red card in the Steel City derby last weekend and will be looking to repay Owls’ fans and management.

Steve Watson could be recalled back to the starting eleven, while James O’Connor is also set to return to the Wednesday midfield.

Player to watch: Jermaine Johnson

Johnson will be keen to make amends for his stupid sending off against the Blades last weekend, and will come in to the clash fresh from no action in midweek and as Wednesday’s biggest attacking threat.

Match Facts & Stats

Head-To-Head:

Birmingham wins: 31
Wednesday wins: 28
Draws: 21

Last Time Out:

Birmingham 2-0 Wednesday

St Andrews, 28/04/07

Wednesday almost sneaked in to the play-offs, but Birmingham put paid to their hopes with a victory which saw them promoted back to the Premier League the last time the two teams met. But the Blues had to wait until the 74th minute to make the breakthrough from Cameron Jerome, before Seb Larsson made the points safe.

Previous Line-Ups:

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Parnaby, Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, Queudrue, Larsson, Carsley, Agustien (Quashie 73), Jerome (Bent 68), Phillips, O’Connor. Subs Not Used: Doyle, Nafti, Wilson.

Wednesday: Grant, McMahon, Buxton, Beevers, Spurr, Small (Clarke 66), Smith, McAllister, Gilbert, Jeffers (Watson 46), Tudgay (Burton 37). Subs Not Used: Esajas, Boden.

Next Fixtures:

v Plymouth Argyle (H) – 28/10/08