Manchester City - Birmingham City Preview: League Cup holders begin defence of crown at Etihad Stadium

Last season's winners will have to overcome one of the most competitive sides in the top flight to progress, with both managers likely to ring the changes in third round match



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Johnson, Tevez, Balotelli


Carr, Caldwell, Davies, Ridgewell
Beausejour, Gomis, Spector, Burke
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Wednesday’s hosts have just the two players to worry about, with James Milner recovering from concussion and Nigel de Jong almost fit following his ankle problem. Both could feature in some capacity during the clash but are not likely to start the match. Roberto Mancini has confirmed that Owen Hargreaves will be given the chance to play as much as half of the game if he feels fit enough.

Chris Hughton will have a handful of individuals that will need assessing before the game at the Etihad Stadium. Nikola Zigic has returned to full training and could make his first appearance in a Birmingham shirt this season. However, Keith Fahay will not be fit enough and is still a week or so away from being fit, while Jordon Mutch is a long-term injury problem.

  • Manchester City became the second English team to pick up both a European and a domestic trophy in 1970 when they secured the League Cup, shortly after capturing the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Vienna.
  • Their most successful period in this competition came in the 1970s, where they were victorious twice ('70 and '76), as well as being runners up in the '74 final.
  • Birmingham City also have two League Cup triumphs, along with a single runners-up appearance. Their first win came in 1963 and of course their latest victory just back in February after overcoming Arsenal 2-1.
  • In Birmingham’s 1964 win, they conquered Manchester City 6-0 in the fifth round on the way to the two-legged final against local rivals Aston Villa.
  • Whereas winning players in other competitions receive a medal each, the individuals on the victorious side collect a special tankard for their efforts.
  • At the end of the tournament a panel select the best player of the final to receive the Alan Hardaker trophy, named after the former secretary of the Football League who devised the League Cup. The current holder of this is the loaned out Birmingham keeper Ben Foster (pictured above right).