After Andre Villas-Boas' departure on Sunday, the Italian faces his first test in ensuring the Blues avoid an upset against Championship opposition to make the quarter-finals
Spector, Davies, Ibanez, Murphy
Elliott, N’Daw, Redmond
Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand
Ramires, Meireles, Mikel
Kalou, Torres, Malouda
Chelsea begin life without Andre Villas-Boas as they meet Birmingham and Roberto Di Matteo will surely be hoping to impress with nothing less than a comprehensive victory over the Championship outfit.
The Italian has just two injuries to deal with ahead of the tie at St Andrew's, with John Terry still recovering from his knee surgery and Jose Bosingwa out with a hamstring problem.
With just three days since their last fixtures, both sides will no doubt chop and change their teams about, especially the visitors who are likely to allow Michael Essien, Daniel Sturridge, Juan Mata and Ashley Cole a rest in order to blood some younger talent. Fernando Torres should also expect to start as the Spaniard continues to search for much-needed confidence.
Keith Fahey faces a late fitness test for Chris Hughton’s side, whilst Stephen Carr looks set to miss the clash. Wade Elliott, Morgaro Gomis and Nikola Zigic should start after spending little or no time on the pitch in the 2-2 draw with Derby County on Saturday.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Birmingham City have reached the final of the FA Cup twice, in 1931 and 1956, finishing runners-up both times.
- Chelsea have lost three of their last six games in all competitions, whilst their hosts on Tuesday night have lost just once in the same run.
- The winner of this tie will be awarded £180,000 by the Football Association and will face Leicester City at home in a quarter-final tie.
- Just 15 clubs took part in the inaugural FA Cup, compared to this season’s 700.
- The Premier League outfit have won three of the last six against Birmingham, with the Championship side winning just the once.
- Didier Drogba (pictured right) scored the only goal in the 2010 final against Portsmouth, the last time Chelsea claimed the cup.
- The original trophy, which had a value of £20, was stolen following Aston Villa’s victory in the final in 1895 and never recovered.