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OPPOSITION VIEW: BIRMINGHAM CITY

18 September 2014

Essential reading on this weekend's opponents

BIRMINGHAM CITY

Nickname: Blues
Manager: Lee Clark
2013/14: 21st
Ground: St Andrew’s
Fastest road route from Carrow Road: 163 miles (2 hours 53 minutes)

THE LOWDOWN
Birmingham ensured another year of Sky Bet Championship football in the most dramatic of circumstances on the final day of the 2013-14 season.

Requiring a draw at Bolton to secure survival, Lee Clark’s men found themselves 2-0 down and facing the stark reality of relegation to English football’s third tier, but Nikola Zigic’s 78th minute strike set up a frantic finale that saw Paul Caddis bag the all-important goal in stoppage time.


Clark made considerable changes to his squad over the summer but they haven’t got going yet this campaign, winning just once and losing 2-0 at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.

Their solitary victory came at home to Brighton last month, with draws against Ipswich, Brentford and Leeds and further defeats to Middlesbrough and Wigan.

It was just three years ago that they lifted the League Cup with a shock win over Arsenal in the Final at Wembley, their second triumph in that competition.

Their most recent league title came in 1955 when they won the Second Division. They have twice been runners-up in the FA Cup, in 1931 and 1956.

Birmingham have one ex-Norwich City player in their squad, former loanee Jonathan Grounds.

THE BOSS
Former Norwich City assistant manager Lee Clark admitted he learned a lot from last season’s scrape with relegation.

Now entering his third season in charge at St Andrew’s – he succeeded Canaries-bound Chris Hughton as boss in 2012 – the 41-year-old is hoping the experience will hold him and his team in good stead for the challenges that wait.

“Of course I did things wrong,” he admitted in an interview with the Birmingham Mail before the campaign’s start.


“I think we have got to hold our hands up to say we all made a contribution to what happened last season.

“But I will come back and be stronger for those experiences of last season and so will the rest of my staff, the group.”

A tenacious midfielder as a player, Clark made his name at local team Newcastle United before moving to rivals Sunderland in 1997. He switched to Fulham before returning to the Magpies to finish his career.

He was named first-team coach when Glenn Roeder took the manager’s job at Newcastle in 2006, and he followed Roeder to Carrow Road in November 2007 as assistant boss.

Huddersfield Town offered him the chance to take the reins in 2008 and his four-year spell with the Terriers was generally successful, reaching the League One play-offs twice, but he was ultimately sacked in February 2012 and joined Birmingham that summer.


THE SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Colin Doyle.

Defenders: Neal Eardley, Jonathan Grounds, Paul Robinson (c), Gavin Gunning, David Edgar, Will Packwood, Grant Hall, Mitch Hancox, Josh Martin, Jonathan Spector, Paul Caddis, Amari’i Bell.

Midfielders: Mark Duffy, Stephen Gleeson, David Cotterill, Brek Shea, Callum Reilly, Olly Lee, Andrew Shinnie, David Davis, Demarai Gray, Charlee Adams.

Forwards: Clayton Donaldson, Wes Thomas, Lee Novak, Denny Johnstone, Matt Green.

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