Essential reading on this weekend's opponents
Manager: Gary Rowett
Ground: St Andrew’s
Fastest road route from Carrow Road: 163 miles (2 hours 53 minutes)
The Blues were in midweek action in the Sky Bet Championship, drawing 0-0 with fellow play-off outsiders Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Tuesday night.
It was a result that leaves them with a record of having won nine, drawn nine and lost nine of their matches in a mixed season for the Midlands club so far.
Gary Rowett’s appointment as manager in October has resulted in a spike in performances and points, with the standout result being the 6-1 thrashing of Reading at St Andrew’s in December.
Yet to illustrate their varied fortunes this season, the home crowd had witnessed their team being humiliated just weeks before when they lost 8-0 to Bournemouth.
They are currently 11 points off the play-off positions and 12 points off the relegation zone in 11th place in the league, having been second bottom at the time of Rowett’s arrival.
This is Birmingham’s fourth season in the second tier since suffering relegation from the Premier League in 2011, the same year they triumphed in the League Cup.
They have one former Norwich City player in their squad: Jonathan Grounds, who had a short loan spell at Carrow Road in 2009.
Gary Rowett was unveiled as Birmingham City boss last October following the sacking of Lee Clark.
Ex-Blues defender Rowett agreed a 12-month rolling contract to take the reins at St Andrew’s after two-and-a-half successful years at the helm of League Two outfit Burton Albion.
The 40-year-old twice guided the Brewers to the play-offs in English football’s fourth tier, losing narrowly 1-0 to Fleetwood Town in last season’s final at Wembley.
His record persuaded Birmingham to appoint him three months ago, and he has repaid their faith so far having lost only three of his 15 matches in charge before this weekend.
A right-back as a player, Rowett’s performances as a youngster at Cambridge United earned him a high-profile move to Everton in 1994.
He couldn’t break into the first-team picture at Goodison Park, however, and transferred to Derby County a year later, a club for whom he would go on to make over 100 appearances.
It was from there he moved to Birmingham for two years before finishing his career at Leicester City, Charlton Athletic and Burton.
Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph, Colin Doyle, Connal Trueman, Nick Townsend.
Defenders: Neal Eardley, Jonathan Grounds, Paul Robinson (c), Gavin Gunning, Will Packwood, Mitch Hancox, Jonathan Spector, Michael Morrison, Paul Caddis, Josh Martin.
Midfielders: Mark Duffy, Stephen Gleeson, David Cotterill, Callum Reilly, Andrew Shinnie, Koby Arthur, David Davis, Reece Brown, Demarai Gray, Lloyd Dyer.
Forwards: Clayton Donaldson, Wes Thomas, Lee Novak, Nikola Zigic, Matt Green.
NEXT AT CARROW ROAD
Blackpool, Saturday February 7, 3pm
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