David Bentley will miss out for Blues and Martin Jiranek has not recovered from his surgery. David Murphy is available again and Alexsander Hleb could return to the bench.
For Blackburn Steven Nzonzi is suspended after being sent off against Arsenal.
Our last meeting took place in August and finished 2-1 to Blues with Craig Gardner scoring both goals. Two goals from Birmingham old boy David Dunn gave Blackburn victory in the last meeting at Ewood Park. A James McFadden free kick was Blues’ only reply.
Blues win against Bolton was their first since the Carling Cup final and only the fourth in the league all year. Blackburn have not won a game since 23rd January although they got a good point at Arsenal last weekend.
Back in August when I wrote my preview for the reverse fixture I noted how this game usually ends in a 2-1 victory for the home side. The run continued in that match. Now would be a good time for it to end. It was a very important result last week as it took us out of the bottom three and ended the bad run we’ve been on since the Carling Cup final. A defeat tomorrow would send us back in the wrong direction. I say defeat as I think a draw would be a decent result as it comes against one of our relegation rivals in a game they will be targeting for three points. Our home games will be the key for us and I am confident of victory over Sunderland after seeing them play against Man City.
Scoring against Blackburn will be tough as they have an excellent defence with two quality centre backs in Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelson. Those two also provide a goal threat from set pieces which will be the most likely way that they will score against us. Cameron Jerome has a good record against them with five goals in the last five games and should start. I’d also keep Phillips in the side and resist the urge to recall Zigic as the aerial game will play into the hands of the aforementioned centre backs. The rest of the team can be as last week although I would play Murphy instead of Parnaby at left back as he did not look comfortable against Bolton. Murphy is not as good a defender but will offer more going forward providing the width we don’t have if Bowyer plays on the left. It’s nice to be able to have the likes of Hleb, Zigic and Beausejour on the bench to bring on later. Hopefully the bad run of injuries is at an end. One thing I would like to see is the running from midfield that we saw a lot of against Bolton. Our players got into good positions on multiple occasions and with better passing could have had more goals.
Rovers’ excellent pricing policy has meant that there will be a good number of Bluenoses making the trip. Blackburn should really be commended for this in the current economic climate. Hopefully the large away following can make enough noise to convince the players that they are at home and maybe they can get that 2-1 win. It’s a long time since we won at Blackburn and there’s only been a few odd points in the past ten years.
My Prediction Blackburn 2 Blues 1 (I’m a traditionalist)
C’mon you blue boys!