With Blues making their return to Championship football against West Brom away from home last week, their next fixture sees Hull City visit an empty St Andrews stadium. With the league one season curtailed and Coventry City promoted, the use of St Andrew’s is exclusive to Blues.
The visitors Hull City are currently in a relegation battle after failing to win a single game in their last six, they have fallen down the table and sit level on points with the team above them, Middlesbrough. The reverse fixture at the KCOM Stadium in December, saw Hull take all 3 points with a 3-0 win against Birmingham City with goals from Eaves, Grosicki and Lewis-Potter. In a recent press conference, Clotet said this about the Blues squad:
‘Our team has worked hard to get better and better and I think we have grown from when we played them to now and we don’t make so many mistakes.’
Grant Mccann has a fully fit squad at his disposal as they currently have no suspended or injured players. In the Blues squad, Clotet has said he expects Pedersen to make a return for the Hull City game but has no plan to include Sunjic or Roberts who both remain out with thigh injuries. Josh Mceachran also remains absent due to a long term injury.
With Blues releasing 5 players prior to the conclusion of the season, the rule change that allows players with expired loans to play for their parent club will be a huge boost for Blues. Charlie Lakin, Josh Dacres-Cogley and Odin Bailey are all returning from loans to lower league clubs and could offer Blues some much needed squad depth. With the Blues bench featuring many academy players against The Baggies, these three could offer the bench some quality and have an impact in the 8 games that remain for Blues.
With Pedersen back in contention for the squad tomorrow, it is likely that Harding will drop to the bench and it will be no surprise if Lakin, Dacres-Cogley and Bailey are included in the matchday 18. With a solid performance in defence last week from Clarke-Salter and Dean it is unlikely they will be changed. Bela may make his way into the starting 11 and Hogan and Jutkiewicz should remain as the two strikers.
With Hull City conceding 17 goals in their last six, the pause to the season seems to have had little effect on their ability to recapture form. Tomorrow, Blues face a relegation battling, out of form squad who lost their star player, Bowen, in January. Tomorrow is a good chance for Blues to try something new against weak opposition and try and secure three points to climb further towards mathematical safety.
Tomorrow may offer Blues fans a look at potential transfer target Marcus Maddison, it is believed that Blues were in the race for the midfielder in January and he is a free agent at the end of the season after failing to agree a new deal with current side Peterborough. Ex Blues loanee Jon Toral could also make an appearance tomorrow for The Tigers after a transfer from Arsenal in 2017.
Overall, tomorrow should be an easy game for Blues. They sit 6 places above Hull in the table and had a solid game against title chasers West Brom last week. With the 3 additional players in the squad and 5 subs, Blues have the chance to give some of the younger players a chance to show what the future could hold. Hull will definitely put up a fight but I believe Blues can rise to occasion and take all 3 points tomorrow.
Let us know below what you think the result will be tomorrow. KRO.