Venue: St. Andrews
The incredible last minute winner against Leeds snuck Wolves into the play-off spaces for first time since early November and we will need to keep up with our promotion rivals by getting a good result away at Birmingham City.
The Leeds result could turn out to be an important point in Wolves’ push for the play-off places and it’s vital to keep the momentum going towards the end of the season and not let the derby day occasion get in the way of what is simply, just another fixture.
Wolves are looking like the all-important ‘form side’ as the top six places are beginning to take shape but there was times on Monday where it didn’t look like we were going to get the result we were hoping for.
Some players looked slightly nervous during the game, perhaps due to the knowledge that a win would move us above both Brentford and Ipswich, and this was summed up by a catalogue of mix ups at the back, with Kevin McDonald’s poor pass into his own box being the stand out error of the lot.
Fortunately Wolves’ impressive prowess going forward shone through and we picked up all three points from a situation that at one point this season we would have probably not returned from.
Even with the incredible form of our attacking options, Kenny Jackett has decided to recall Michael Jacobs from his loan spell at Blackpool ahead of the game against Blues, to give his side that extra alternative when chasing results in games.
Birmingham will not be any sort of pushovers despite having nothing much to play for the rest of the season.
Bournemouth found that out on Easter Monday when they went 2-0 down to the Blues inside the first 21 minutes, although the Cherries were able to come back and win the game 4-2.
Recent games between Birmingham and Wolves at St Andrews have always been eventful to say the least and this one promises to be no different.
Under Dean Saunders’s in the 2012/2013 season, Wolves found themselves three goals up at half time and ended up winning 3-2 in a game which turned out be ever present striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake’s final game for the club due to an injury.
Back in the 2009/2010 season Wolves once again found themselves leading at half time due to a goal from Kevin Doyle, but unfortunately our old nemesis Kevin Phillips struck twice in the final ten minutes to deny us any points and left a particular sour taste in the mouth.
The championship winning season of 2008/2009 also saw an eventful and crucial game at St Andrews where both sides were battling for the championship promotion spots. Birmingham went down to 10 men following a vicious challenge on Chris Iwelumo by Lee Carsley but ultimately ran out 2-0 winners. Wolves still had the last laugh however piping Blues to the top of the championship come the end of the season.
Some familiar faces will line up for Birmingham City. Wolves’ academy players Stephen Gleeson and David Davies are both regular turnouts for the side and will be looking to send the travelling 4000 away fans home unhappy. Much was expected of Davies during his time with the Wanderers but following relegation from the Premier League his performances started to slip and his appearances started to dwindle with Jackett ultimately selling him to our nearby neighbours.
Well-travelled winger David Cotterill is having one of his most fruitful seasons of his career under the guidance of manager Gary Rowett with a return of 9 goals from 38 league appearances. His has the ability to cut inside and create problems for defences and is capable of being extremely dangerous from set pieces.
Jackett has opted to bring Carl Ikeme back in the fold following his return from injury and the long serving goalkeeper will do everything to prove his spot back in place of Tomasz Kuszczak. Ikeme’s ability to command his area will be tested by the strong presence of Birmingham striker Clayton Donaldson.
First goal scorer
Clayton Donaldston 6/1
Wesley Thomas 7/1
David Cotterill 10/1
Benik Afobe 5/1
Nouha Dicko 5/1
Bakary Sako 13/2
images via birminghammail.co.uk