Blues face QPR on Friday night under the lights at St Andrews, hoping to bounce back from two consecutive defeats.
Blues Team News
John Eustace said in his presser that full back Ethan Laird suffered an injury setback in training last week with his hamstring and is still a ‘couple of weeks’ away. The Blues boss also confirmed Tyler Roberts is out for a few weeks too.
However, on a more positive note, Siriki Dembele is likely to be in contention for Friday’s game which could see him, Stansfield and Miyoshi lineup in attack. Lukas Jutkiewicz and Lee Buchanan also return to the fold after their respective suspensions, as confirmed by manager John Eustace in his press conference today.
Miyoshi and Stansfield have both cemented their places in the starting lineup on Friday after impressing away at Preston – Miyoshi created the most chances (4) and Stansfield of course bagged once again with a very composed finish.
QPR Team News
The Hoops enjoyed a late 92nd minute leveller through Lyndon Dykes in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Swansea (below). Boss Gareth Ainsworth says his players are working hard on the training pitch to add ‘greater cutting edge’ to their play ahead of Friday’s encounter.
Dykes is more than likely going to start on Friday following his super-sub performance.
Rangers have no fresh injury concerns ahead of Friday’s fixture.
Words from the gaffer
“We’ll prepare the right way – both teams could obviously have done without another game so soon, but it’s a really good opportunity for us to showcase what we can do on TV.
“It’s another difficult game, they all are. Birmingham are a tough nut to crack under John Eustace, physical and strong, and we’ve got to make sure we’re up for the challenge.
“We’ve also got to make sure we impose our style on the game. These boys will keep going, keep emptying the tank.”
“Although we have lost the last two games, there have been a lot of positives. We have to defend better, the goals we have conceded haven’t been like us. Overall, the week has been good although we came away with no points, we have to keep progressing.”
“We have to be more clinical in the final third, we have to have players that want to say ‘I want to be the man to win games, to be the difference’ – that is something we will keep working on and it will come.”
“It is going to take time for everyone to gel with the new players but everyone who has played up to now has been very good and it is important we keep working on the training field.”
Blues go into this one with some very missed players in the form of Jutkiewicz and Dembele especially. We can expect Juke to come off the bench to give some much needed rest to a very lively Jay Stansfield.
Utilising Dembele’s pace and trickery will be key in this game and its no doubt we’ve missed him even though Miyoshi and Anderson have performed very well. As for Buchanan returning from his suspension after his dubious yellow cards away at Watford, his will provide much needed stability in the left full back position, although again, his replacement in Longelo performed very well on Tuesday.
I think Blues are due a win on Friday and although Dykes looks dangerous in attack for Rangers, Blues will be too much for them and if they perform at the same intensity from the Preston game, there will certainly be goals in Blues’ favour. I’m going for a much needed 3-1 victory for Blues to continue to cement a playoff spot.
Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Ruddy, Buchanan, Sanderson, Long, Drameh, Bielik, Sunjic, Anderson, Dembele, Stansfield, Miyoshi
Be sure to tune into our match preview video tomorrow afternoon on our YouTube channel as we speak to an opposition fan.