It looks likely that Freddie Sears will play some part at St.Andrews today and he could be in from the start! Birmingham have lost only one of their last 18 home matches in all competitions against Ipswich, and with the Tractor Boys in the feeble mode, they will need to up their game against a side who defied football logic by defeating Leeds United in their last encounter.
Manager Paul Hurst has assured people that he is not overly concerned about the start Town have made to his first campaign in charge but he knows that from his own perspective, and that of the club and its supporters, the sooner a win comes the better. Asked if any old win would do he said cheerfully, “Yes, I might even smile if we got that. We said that it doesn’t matter how it comes. I genuinely believe that we will win a game of football whether it’s Saturday – or the next couple of weeks, playing worse than what we have done so far.”
The key could be the return of Freddie Sears. If he starts I think this will be a confidence boost to a player who has been for far too long short on self-belief and this is something that the management team have been working on to erase. Hurst also suggested, in his weekly press conference at Portman Road that Andre Dozzell is “not a million miles away’ and this will be music to the ears of most Town fans!
Mathew Pennington looks likely to continue in his new wing-back role and now that Jonathan Walters is out of the equation, the manager can include Janoi Donacien in his thinking and he should be in the side from the start.
Birmingham City manager Gary Monk told BBC Radio that a win would cement that victory at Leeds United. “Wins ultimately are extra confidence boosters, but it hasn’t changed anything about our focus and the work we’ve been doing on the training ground. All the focus is now on Ipswich. There’s no underestimation from anyone on the staff – or in the squad, as we were in their situation not that long ago.”
If you are a believer in stats then you will be disappointed to hear that the Birmingham manager has won all three of his home Championship matches against Ipswich, without conceding a single goal. But as Paul Hurst has alluded to, more than once in his conversations with the media, stats are there to be broken.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich