Arguably this is where Blackpool’s 2011 really begins.
Sure, Man City was a nice day out on New Year’s Day but Birmingham at home is your bread and butter and exactly the sort of game that ‘Pool need to win between now and end of the season to retain their Premier League status.
Alex McLeish got one over on Ian Holloway earlier in the season, but the Seasiders will be desperately seeking revenge as they entertain the tangerine faithful at Bloomfield Road for the first time in over a month.
COME ON YOU ‘POOL!
Just like against Man City, ‘Pool manager Ian Holloway is desperate for revenge against Birmingham after the Blues outclassed the Seasiders in 2-0 victory earlier this season.
However, he might make several changes for tonight’s game according to The Gazette:
‘The games are coming thick and fast this month, which is something we haven’t experienced before, so I’ll have to get my thinking cap on when it comes to picking my team.
‘I’ll need to be careful about choosing the right moment to give some lads a breather and when to bring others in.’
Personally, I think the breather should come v Southampton at the weekend in the FA Cup…
Blackpool Team News:
The word is that Matt Phillips will start for the Seasiders after his two brilliant performaces against Sunderland and Man City.
Phillips’ pace terrorised both opponents and gives the Seasiders a different attacking outlet. If he indeed he does start, it will be interesting to see how he can impact on a game from the start rather than from the bench.
Paul Rachubka is expected to be on the bench after being added to ‘Pool’s 25 man Premier League squad, but Elliot Grandin misses out again with a hamstring injury.
David Carney is on international duty, but Marlon Harewood might make the bench.
Chris Basham, Billy Clarke, Matt Gilks and Malaury Martin remain long term absentees.
Player to watch: Matt Phillips
Undoubtedly a real find. The 19 year old has starred every time he’s pulled on a tangerine shirt and it appears that he will get the nod to start tonight.
Whilst Birmingham may well once again adopt the tactic of man marking Charlie Adam, that will simply leave more space for Phillips to wreak havoc.
Birmingham Team News:
Lee Bowyer has today received a three match ban from the FA for his stamp on Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna; the latest in a long line of violent conduct charges for the scumbag.
James McFadden misses out through injury, but Alexander Hleb could be recalled as Alex McLeish looks to freshen up a team in freefall.
Player to watch: Ben Foster
On his day this lad is unbeatable in goal, and Birmingham have firmly pinned their hopes of staying up upon him.
Let’s hope that he doesn’t have a ‘worldie’ tonight.
Match Facts & Stats
Birmingham have not won away from home all season in the Premier League; the only club who have failed to do so.
The Blues haven’t won at Bloomfield Road in eleven matches; their last win coming in 1960.
Blackpool are unbeaten when scoring first this season (W7, D2).
The Blues have won just one of their last ten in the league, drawing six.
Southampton v Blackpool
FA Cup Third Round
Saturday 8th January, 3pm