Birmingham City vs Fulham – Preview

Team News

Craig Gardner and Liam Ridgewell are both suspended for this match. David Murphy or Stuart Panaby should come in at left back with Kevin Phillips likely to start in a return to a 4-4-2 formation.

Chris Baird is suspended after being found guilty of making offensive comments at a linesman in the defeat to Liverpool. Zoltan Gera is a doubt and Damien Duff is definitely out.

Last Meeting

The last meeting was at a very cold Craven Cottage in November and finished 1-1 with goals by Seb Larsson and Clint Dempsey.

Recent Form

Fulham have been in good form of late having won three of their last six games and even won away on their last trip. They are coming off the back though of a horror show against Liverpool on Monday night

Blues have only picked up one win and five points in their last six although they have won two of their last three at home.

Outlook

In the tightest relegation race for years our situation is simple. Win and we stay up, draw and we probably do as well. If we lose then we have to get our calculators out and hope for something away at Tottenham. So in summary, Sunday is everything and it was always going to be a game that we should target for points in the run in. This was because our home form is so much better than our away form and the same can be said about Fulham. We have a good recent record against them at St Andrews (Even the 2005-06 team beat them!) and they don’t have a lot to play for this season.

I’m always a little bit wary of the side with nothing to play for though. Two weeks ago Cardiff had a home game against mid-table Middlesbrough and lost 3-0. Two years ago we had a home game against Preston to cement our place in the Premiership. That went horribly wrong as well and I was left with just a few hundred other fans clapping the end of season lap of appreciation. Hopefully we can be celebrating all together at six o’clock on Sunday evening. It would also be nice to follow Liverpool’s example from Monday and be 3-0 up at half time so we can relax. That’ll never happen of course, Blues don’t do things easily.

With the loss of Gardner and Ridgewell and the likely non appearance of Zigic the side pretty much picks itself. It’ll be good to be able to keep eleven men on the pitch this time as we don’t need to be shooting ourselves in the foot again. A positive approach should pay dividends and while Fulham will be looking for a reaction from the last game they did look very shaky at the back. To take advantage of that we need to be positive. Fulham bring threats of their own up front with former Blue Andrew Johnson and former Blues targets Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele. Top scorer Clint Dempsey will also have to be watched. I predict a more open game than the one at Craven Cottage and hopefully a better performance than we have seen in the past month.

We should have a good crowd and with Fulham not bringing many we must be looking to create an atmosphere to urge the side to victory. Let’s try and keep it up even if things don’t go too well in the first thirty minutes. I want to be clapping the team with thousands of others at the end and celebrating a good season.

My prediction Blues 2 Fulham 1

C’mon you Blue Boys!

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