Just a year ago Blackpool were favorites to be relegated from the Championship to League One. Now, after being favorites once again to be relegated, they are 11th in the Premier League with games in hand over their rivals.
Birmingham, on the other hand, were the surprise package in the Premier League last season, finishing ninth as well as going on a 12-match unbeaten run midway through the campaign. They looked set to continue their impressive top flight form this term but have failed to build on their early season results and now sit 19th in the table.
Away Day Blues
While Blackpool are one of the top teams in the division away from home, Birmingham are yet to win on the road. They have drawn five of their nine away games and have scored just nine goals in the process.
Blackpool have been labeled as the Premier League’s entertainers for their approach to games this season, but that couldn’t be further from the truth for Birmingham. The Blues’ rigid 4-5-1 formation is planned to make life difficult for opponents, which sets up for an interesting clash against Ian Holloway’s "you score four, we score five" side.
The Seasiders may have to do without midfielder Elliot Grandin after he missed the loss to Manchester City at the weekend with a hamstring strain.
And Dave Carney will certainly miss out as he has now joined up with the Australia squad ahead of the Asian Cup.
Possible starting XI: Kingson; Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt, Crainey; Phillips, Adam, Vaughan; Taylor-Fletcher, Campbell, Varney.
Alex McLeish has no new injury worries, so James McFadden remains Birmingham’s only player on the sidelines, with the Scottish international not expected back until March.
Alexander Hleb, who kicked up a fuss after the defeat to Arsenal on Saturday, is vying for a start ahead of Jean Beausejour.
Possible starting XI: Foster; Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell; Larsson, Gardner, Ferguson, Bowyer, Hleb; Jerome.
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