Marcus Braddock previews the game
After an entertaining game against Bolton on Saturday, we turn our attentions toward tonight’s pre-season friendly against another Championship side. Birmingham City are about to start their third consecutive season in the Championship after being relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2010/11 season. In their first season back in the championship the Blues looked good for a return to the top flight, but were beaten 3-2 in the play-off semi finals by Blackpool.
Last season was a little more difficult for Birmingham supporters with the Blues flirting with the relegation places until a late spurt of form took them into the top half of the table for the final weeks of the season.
Birmingham City Signings
Striker Lee Novak from Huddersfield
Midfielder Olly Lee from Barnet
Goalkeeper Darren Randolph from Motherwell
Right back Neil Eardly from Blackpool
Striker Matt Green from Mansfield Town
Fulham defender Dan Burn (loan)
Swansea City defender Kyle Bartley (loan)
Norwich midfielder Tom Adeyemi
Midfielder Scott Allen from West Brom (loan)
Selected transfers out
Nathan Redmond to Norwich City for £3,200,000
Curtis Davies to Hull City for £2,250,000
Akwasi Asante to Shrewsbury Town
One to watch
At over 6 feet 7 inches, Nikola Zigic is one of the tallest professional footballers you will come across. The 32 year old striker hails from Serbia and has played for Red Star Belgrade, Racing Santander and Valencia amongst others. He's been with the Blues since 2010 and has scored 25 goals in 95 games. Obviously he will be an aerial threat but he's also pretty handy with the ball at his feet and will be a difficult man to mark tonight.
Wade Elliott is a midfielder who plays predominantly on the right although is comfortable in central positions. An accident of fate has seen Elliot only ever play for teams that begin with the letter B (Bashley, Bournemouth, Burnley and Birmingham) and he has done well at each club he's played for. Now in his mid 30's, Elliott's best days may well be behind him but as an intelligent player, he's always a threat from midfield. Signed in the summer of 2011, Wade has scored 14 goals from 66 starts.
For Saturdays game I predicted a 2-2 draw, so my desire to see plenty of goals was surpassed by the 3-3 score-line. But as I said in the very same preview, I really have no idea when it comes to predicting the results of pre-season games, so it's all pot luck. I also thought we may see some trialists playing, so I got that wrong as well. Against the Trotters we saw some decent performances, especially from the two strikers who started the game, both of whom scored. John Marsden looks to know where the goal is and seems to be fitting in well and Birmingham’s own Akwasi Asante looks to have progressed well since we saw him last season. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing Akwasi for a couple of weeks at least as he has a Hamstring injury. As ever, I would like to see some goals tonight but it would also be nice to see us concede a couple less so I will go for a 2-1 win for us!
If you want to keep up to date with all of tonight’s action, pop back to www.shrewsburytown.com for live commentary and match chat with CoverItLive.
Graham Turner's thoughts ahead of the game
On the Bolton game...
It was a very good work-out, I thought first half we played within ourselves. We didn't open up and really display what we're capable of doing and I thought we were just a little bit, not in fear of Bolton, but we didn't really play. Although we had a fair bit of the ball, defensively we weren't too clever for the goals to have gone in like they did. But second half it was totally different, I thought we suddenly got on the front foot and passed it better. The movement was better; we defended a lot better and as a result got ourselves back in the game. For a pre-season practise match there were some cracking goals and I think we got a lot out of the game in terms of fitness. The issues we need to put right before the start of the season, you could see 1 or 2 things that we need to work on. But over all the players looked fit and strong, finished the game strongly and we got a lot out of it.
I think Birmingham supporters will expect them to do well this season, as will Bolton. I thought Bolton will be in contention, having seen them, having looked at the squad of players they've got, they won’t be far off a chance for promotion to the Premiership. Birmingham I think have signed a few players in the close season and it could be that they will be a threat. Certainly we know it's going to be a hard work out for us.