Friday, 8 January 2016

Goals are not easy to come by at St Andrews

Birmingham City will provide stiff opposition for the Cherries in the FA Cup Third Round. While the Cherries will welcome a break from the Premier League, it is true that the Blues will also be able to play with some freedom as they get a rest from the Championship. What the St Andrew's crowd have not seen much of is a hat full of goals. Their team has only been averaging just over a goal a game and they'll probably need more than that to hold AFCB off.
AFCB fans can look forward to a return visit to St Andrews
but they might not see eight goals this time.

There have been 14 Birmingham goals at St Andrews in league and cup this season and while it has not been a hot bed of goals, Gary Rowett's team has been doing much better than it did at the start of 2014-15 when it could not win a home game. Birmingham's form at home has picked up of late with two wins from the last three, despite only scoring two goals in those matches. During November and October though the Blues only scored twice at home.

Clayton Donaldson has started most games up front and leads the goal scoring charts with five goals, but has had time out with a groin strain. Paul Caddis and Stephen Gleeson are also contributing goal though. Options for Rowett look a bit short though up top especially with Demarai Gray not hitting form and now on his way to Leicester, while James Vaughan has been on loan from Huddersfield. The batten has been handed over to Jacques Maghoma and he obliged with a goal against MK Dons in their last home match and against Brentford in the last league match for the Blues.

Meanwhile, AFCB will be working hard to get a clean sheet in this kind of match. The Cherries have not done that too often and while it could be an experimental back four for AFCB, it would be a good performance to keep Birmingham off the score sheet.

Birmingham's League Home form

AFCB League Away form

Probable AFCB team: Federici, Smith, Elphick, Distin, Daniels, Ritchie, O’Kane, MacDonald, Pugh, Tomlin, Rantie

Bench: Allsop, Cargill, Lee, Gosling, Arter, Iturbe (work permit dependant), Kermorgant

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