Peterborough United travel to Birmingham City for the first time in 17 years.
Birmingham are unbeaten at home so far this season in all competitions that include the Europa League. If that wasn`t daunting enough for Posh, Birmingham have also kept five clean sheets at home! Posh can only dream of keeping a clean sheet as they are the only team in the division not to keep a clean sheet this season. Posh have also never won at St Andrews!
Birmingham haven`t won in 3 games though following draws against Brighton and Club Brugge while going down to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Reading.
The Blues welcome back Chilean International winger Jean Beausejour from a one match ban after picking up five bookings.
Midfielder Morgaro Gomis is still missing with a calf problem but is aiming for a return against Blackpool next Saturday.
After being down to the bare bones before the International break which resulted in Posh calling up 15 year old youth team striker Jaanai Gordon-Hutton, Posh have a clean bill of health apart from long term injury victim Dave Hibbert and Manchester United loanee Scott Wootton.
Lee Tomlin and Lee Frecklington both return from suspensions while defender Craig Alcock has returned from injury which has ruled him out of the last few games. Fellow defender Ryan Bennett looks set to have recovered from the injury which ruled him out of the England Under-21 games last week.
MATCH FACTS & STATS
Birmingham and Posh last faced each other 17 years ago at St Andrews in a Division Two match early in the 1994/95 season. Posh returned home with their tales between their legs having suffered a 4-0 defeat by The Blues. That result saw Birmingham move into 6th place, four points behind league leaders Oxford United. Posh were in 12th place, just 2 points behind Birmingham.
Birmingham and Posh have faced each other just 8 times in the league with Birmingham just having the upper hand with 3 wins compared to Posh`s 2 wins. There have been 3 draws including the last league meeting which ended in a 1-1 draw at London Road. Posh have never won at St Andrews!
So far this season, Birmingham are unbeaten at home in the league having won four and drawn two of their 6 home matches. They have conceded just one goal at home and have kept an amazing 5 clean sheets at home so far!
Birmingham have only played 13 League matches so far due to their involvement in the Europa League. They have 21 points and sit in 13th place.
Posh have played 3 more League games than Birmingham and sit 2 places above Birmingham in 11th place with 22 points. Posh have suffered 5 defeats away from home, having only won once on their travels and drawing two games.
Vital Posh PREDICTION
Despite only being in 13th place, Birmingham should comfortably finish inside the play-off positions at the very least. Once they bow out of the Europa League and can focus their attention on the League, if they can handle the backlog of matches, they should start moving up the League.
You can also guarantee goals whenever Posh are playing and although Birmingham have kept 5 clean sheets out of 6 home league matches, I can see both teams scoring.
Posh will need to be at their very best if they are to get anything out of this game. They`ve been working on the defensive side of things during the past week, but seeing as Posh have had defensive issues all this season and last season, I can`t see how focusing on the defensive side of things for a few days will suddenly transform Posh into a strong defensive unit. Posh are battling a lot harder than I can remember but it will be difficult to change their tactics and attacking threat just to combat the defensive frailties they suffer from. Many goals come from errors, so if they can cut out the silly mistakes, Posh should start picking up more points.
This game should be quite open. If Posh can keep a clean sheet for the first half (normally we can`t keep a clean sheet for 5 minutes!), it will make for an interesting end to the game as Posh will no doubt create many chances themselves.
I think there will be just one goal between these sides with Birmingham just nicking the points with a 2-1 win.
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