Meet the opposition: Birmingham

28th January 2019
First team

Having advanced to the last 16 of the Emirates FA Cup, Swansea City return to Sky Bet Championship action against Birmingham on Tuesday night (7.45pm).

Here, we take a closer look at the Blues ahead of the Liberty Stadium clash.

What's their story?

Birmingham have spent the majority of their 141-year history in the top-flight, but are currently in the midst of their eighth-straight season in the Championship after dropping out of the Premier League in 2011.

They have finished higher than 10th on only one occasion during that time and they have battled relegation in three of the previous five campaigns, with former Swan Garry Monk guiding them to safety last term.

The St Andrew's club have won two FA Cups and two League Cups, with the most recent of those successes coming in 2011 when they stunned Arsenal in the League Cup final at Wembley as Obafemi Martins scored a last-gasp winner.

How's their form?

Decent, although Birmingham fans will have reason to ponder just where their side would be had they not become the Championship's draw specialists.

The Blues have shared the spoils with their opposition on 12 occasions, and no side has played out more draws than that so far in 2018-19.

They went on an 11-match unbeaten run during the autumn, but have not quite been able to carry that over through the end of 2018 and the start of the new calendar year.

They are without a win in their last four league games, although the two defeats in that sequence came against promotion hopefuls Middlesbrough and Norwich.

They lie just two places and one point behind the Swans in 13th place.

Who's the boss?

Blues boss Monk will need no introduction to Swansea fans given the years of service the defender gave the club as a player and a manager.

Over a decade the former Southampton defender made over 250 appearances for the Swans and played in all four divisions after making the move to SA1 during the club's time in League Two.

Featured in the Wembley triumphs over Reading and Bradford - making a crucial block in the former - as Swansea secured play-off and League Cup glory.

Took over as interim manager following Michael Laudrup's departure in February 2014 and led the side to a 3-0 derby victory over Cardiff in his first game at the helm.

Took over as full-time boss at the end of the season and he then led Swansea to their best Premier League finish of eighth in 2015, but left the club following a disappointing run of form later the same year.

He has since had spells with Leeds and Middlesbrough, before taking over at Birmingham in March.

Monk kept the Blues in the second tier and, despite the challenge of a transfer embargo last summer, they are having a good season and are still well within reach of the play-off spots.

His Swans colleagues Pep Clotet, James Beattie and Ryan Needs are also part of Monk's staff at St Andrew's.

Who are the key men?

Striker Che Adams is a man on fine form for the visitors having netted five times in his last seven Championship appearances, taking his tally to 14 for the season and seeing him linked with a move to the Premier League.

The well-travelled Lukas Jutkiewicz has also got among the goals with 10 to his name and proven a great asset with his hold-up play, while Jota and Jacques Maghoma provide pace, trickery and a real threat on the flanks.

They have experienced keeper Lee Camp between the sticks while Harlee Dean and Michael Morrison form a no-nonsense centre-half pairing.