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Birmingham Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 25/10/2001

FOR the last four or five games, I've kept repeating how desperate Town are for points, and after Tuesday night's crushing defeat to Manchester City, the priority of scoring some points remains the same against managerless Birmingham...

Home > 2001-2002 Season > Previews > Birmingham (h)

The Story So Far


If Town's season was not in turmoil before, then it is now. Tuesday night's game against Manchester City was their seventh loss in nine games, with the other two being draws. That, you'd expect would see them rooted to the bottom of the table, but that isn't the case, yet. A spectacular early start from the Mariners saw them rise to top spot in September, winning at Coventry and WBA along the way. But now, Town have really started to fall apart and need to get back on track on Friday night. The Town players have looked agitated and nervous in recent weeks, which does not justify their ability that was so evident at the start of the year. What the players need now is SUPPORT, hopefully resulting in the result we all want.

Birmingham's season has been a strange one to say the least. Predicted to be riding high in the division under the guidance of Trevor Francis, the Blues had a somewhat patchy start to the season which saw them sitting in mid table. A 6-0 away defeat to Manchester City started the alarm bells ringing at St Andrews, and one game later Trevor Francis "left Birmingham by mutual consent" despite reports he was sacked. Now, coaches Mick Mills and Jim Barron are in temporary charge, they have guided the team to one draw and two victories in their short spell in the hot seat, and helping the team rise to sixth place, making them serious contenders for the job.

Recent Form


LMan City(a)0-4
LWatford(h) 0-3
LSheff Utd(a) 1-3
WLiverpool(a)2-1 AET
LMan City(a)0-6

Overall League Record



Leading Goalscorers (League + Cup)



Town Team News

  • Stuart Campbell is almost certain to miss out with an ankle injury, meaning his place on the bench will be taken by Ben Chapman.
  • Bradley Allen could be in for a surprise recall in place of Jonathan Rowan
  • Alan Pouton is expected to be declared fit in time for the visit of Birmingham, which will result in Menno Willems dropping to the bench.
  • David Beharall will hoping for a return to the lineup after Marlon Broomes' recent loss of form in the centre of defence.
  • Paul Raven now has two reserve games under his belt but is not expected to be risked on Friday.
  • Elsewhere, Michael Jeffrey, Steve Livingstone and Wayne Burnett are all still out with injuries that could see them back in between a week and a month.

  • Birmingham Team News

  • Birmingham have a slight crisis up front in that Andy Johnson, Dele Adebola and Tommy Mooney are all injured, while Marcelo and Paul Furlong are major doubts. This leaves just Geoff Horsfield as the Blues only fully fit striker.
  • Right back Nicky Eaden is in a race against time to be fit, but if he fails to make it in time, Jerry Gill will take his place.
  • Elsewhere, Tresor Luntala is expected to keep his place in the team after some recently impressive performances.

  • Expected Line Ups


    Danny Coyne
    Probably Town's most prized asset in the team, Danny Coyne has transformed himself into an absolutely outstanding keeper in the last year, and was given his reward last season with the Player of the year award.
    Alan Neilson
    Steady defender who signed from Fulham until the end of the season only last week to cover for the injured John McDermott. Can also play in the midfield.
    Tony Gallimore
    Solid left back who is a undoubtedly Town's first choice in that position, after signing for Town in 1996 from Carlisle for £230,000.
    Paul Groves (c)
    Captain magnificent who has played over 300 games for the Mariners. Made the transition from central midfield to centre defence with ease and is now equally important in the defence as he was in midfield.
    David Beharall
    Most Town fans will expect Beharall to play for Town on Friday night, reuniting with Paul Groves where at the start of the season they formed a back line that conceded just six goals in seven games.
    Michael Boulding
    A lightening quick left sided player who is equally at home up front or on the wing. On Tuesday night was given his first start for Town, and is expected to continue down the left hand flank which has never seen a naturally left sided player play there for a whole season.
    Alan Pouton
    Expected to make the line up after missing Tuesday nights game at Manchester City with concussion. Has been playing down the right wing all season but will probably join Stacy Coldicott in the centre of midfield tonight.
    Danny Butterfield
    Accomplished midfield player who just lately has covered at right back. Now Alan Nielsen has been signed for a year, it gives the 22 year old the chance to move back into an engine room where he has played a huge role in this season.
    Stacy Coldicott
    Tough tackling central midfield player who has been sorely missed this season through injury. Now back to full fitness, Coldicott will be hoping to hold down a regular first team place.
    Phil Jevons
    Scouser who was signed from Everton in the summer for £250,000.Scored THAT fantastic 35 yarder against Liverpool to send them into the next round of the cup.
    Bradley Allen
    Expected to make a surprise start in the lineup after a lively performance against Manchester City in the week. The former QPR hitman has hit the back of the net twice this season.
    Nico Vaesen
    Highly respected Belgian keeper who joined the Blues in the summer from relegated Huddersfield to challenge Ian Bennett for the number one jersey, and has done that, displacing the Blue's long serving keeper as first choice.
    Jerry Gill
    31 year old right back who signed for Birmingham in the 1997/98 season after starting his career at Yeovil Town. He provides cover for first choice right back Nicky Eaden.
    Martin Grainger
    No-nonsense defender who's preferred position is left back. Started his career at Colchester, and after signing for Birmingham in the 1995/96 season from Brentford, has become a regular feature in the Blues defence.
    Darren Purse
    Commanding defender Darren Purse is rated one of the best defenders outside the Premiership. After his terrific display for the Blues in the Worhington Cup final last season he has been subject of much transfer speculation making the 26 year old hot property.
    Michael Johnson
    Big defender who has formed a solid partnership with Darren Purse in Birminghams defence. Joined the Blues in the 1995/96 season from Notts County, playing over 200 games for the Midlands club.
    Tresor Luntala
    Young French midfielder whom caretaker Mick Mills has lavished praise upon this week saying he is an "old head on young shoulders" and "is the best player at the club who can run with the ball". From this, it seems like Birmingham have a very talented young player.
    Danny Sonner
    Versatile midfielder signed on a free over a year ago from Sheffield Wednesday. Much travelled player who has played at Burnley and Ipswich as well as foreign team Erzegebirge Aue, having seven Northern Ireland caps to his name.
    Martin O'Connor
    Influential midfielder who nearly joined Town in 1996, but opted for Birmingham instead. Has since made 167 appearances for the club, scoring 16 goals from the middle of midfield.
    Stan Lazaridis
    Australian international winger, with over 50 caps, who's pace has caused opposing teams huge problems. Signed from West Ham in 1999, and has since become a huge hit with the fans.
    Geoff Horsfield
    A big burly striker who came back into the side on Tuesday night against Gillingham, aging two goals. The former Halifax and Fulham striker is one of many top Nationwide players to have started at non-league including the likes of Barry Hayles and Lee Hughes.
    Paul Furlong
    Experienced striker who has played for Watford, Chelsea, Coventry and QPR, having over 100 goals to his name. Was signed by Trevor Francis in the 1996/97 season for over £1 million.

    Jonathan Rowan
    Menno Willems
    Marlon Broomes
    Ben Chapman
    Steve Crousdon (GK)
    David Holdsworth
    Curtis Woodhouse
    David Burrows
    Ian Bennett (GK)

    Last Time Out

    The last time the two sides came head to head in the league was just six months ago when Birmingham won at St Andrew by one goal to nil in the penultimate game of the season. Brazilian Marcelo got the goal that day in front of a 24,822 crowd. Just a month earlier, the game ended 1-1 at Blundell Park when an Alan Pouton penalty earned Town a single point.

    Town Team: Coyne, McDermott, Gallimore, Raven, Groves, Donovan, Pouton, Campbell, Butterfield, Cornwall, Livingstone.
    Subs: Hyldgaard, D Smith, Jeffrey, Willems, Black

    Birmingham Team: Bennett, Eaden, Grainger, Hughes, Purse, Johnson, Sonner, O'Connor, Marcelo, Johnson, Woodhouse.  Report

    Birmingham Head-to-Head (42nd on The Opposition Ladder).

    Fishy Prediction

    Well, Town cannot loose this game, and if they get to 0-0 or even 0-1 at half time they can still get a draw. Being an optimistic person, I'll go for 2-1 Town with a last minute goal.

    Prediction: 2-1 to Town. Reader's POMs


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