Blues travel to Wearside to face a Sunderland team who have had an impressive start to the season following promotion from League One.
Rooney and his troops will yet again have their work cut-out tomorrow lunchtime in what will be a very tough encounter as he still searches for his first victory as Blues boss.
The Ipswich game last week proved the players are, at last, starting to get on board with the former Man United striker’s philosophy. His side took the game to Ipswich and pressed for large portions of the game and were unlucky to come away with just a point.
There are no new fresh injury concerns going into this one.
George Hall will be travelling with the side tomorrow, while this encounter comes too soon for Lee Buchanan as he returns from injury. Rooney expects him to be back after the international break. Keshi Anderson and Tyler Roberts remain sidelined.
Sunderland will be without defensive duo Luke O’Nien and Dan Ballard. The pair have reached the caution threshold for bookings and will therefore serve a one-game suspension.
Aji Alese, Corry Evans, Timothee Pembele, and Jay Matete all remain out as they continue to recover from their respective injuries.
The Black Cats also drew last weekend, playing out a goalless encounter against ten-man Swansea City in South Wales.
Sunderland, despite three consecutive defeats in the middle of October, are sitting pretty in sixth place.
Tony Mowbray has players lighting the scene up including the division’s joint-top scorer, Jack Clarke. Scoring in four of their five September fixtures, he will no doubt prove to be a handful for Blues’ defence.
Chelsea loanee Mason Burstow and Bradley Dack are also expected to feature which we all know in particular, Dack can cause problems.
Words from the managers
“I’m expecting another tough one against Sunderland, they’re a good, young and energetic team. But, we’ll go there fully believing we can get three points.
The main thing from me is to keep seeing improvement to the team. The lads, as I keep saying are understanding more what I want from them.”
“I think he’s (Rooney) still searching for his best formula. I look forward to seeing him and he knows we’ll be doing our best to win and we know that Birmingham will be trying their best to get a result before the international break.
We look forward to the challenge of the game and hopefully with the backing of our supporters we can find a way to get three more points.”
View from the opposition
We spoke to the leading Sunderland Fansite, Roker Report and asked them for their thoughts coming into this one:
BF: What are the expectations of Sunderland fans for the outcome of the match against Birmingham City?
RR: “Since returning to the Championship, our home form has always been consistent so it would be great to get back-to-back wins, but I can’t help but worry about how inexperienced and out of sync our backline could be.”
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Assistant referees: Mark Stevens and Alex James
Fourth official: James Bell
Be sure to tune into our match preview video on our YouTube channel as we speak to another member of the Roker Report team, Patrick:
YouTube: CAPITALISING ON INJURED SUNDERLAND? – Sunderland V Birmingham City Match Preview w/ @RokerReportSAFC