Meet the opposition: Birmingham City

14th August 2018
First team

​​​​​​​As Swansea City get set for a Friday night trip to St Andrew’s, we take a look at Birmingham City.

What’s their story?

Birmingham have spent much of their history in the top flight but have been in the second tier since 2011 – the same year they won their second League Cup with a shock triumph over Arsenal in the final.

Alex McLeish was in charge at the time but left following relegation. Since then, Chris Hughton, Gary Rowett, Gianfranco Zola, Harry Redknapp and Steve Cotterill have all had a go at leading the club back into the Premier League, although relegation to League One has often looked more likely.

Garry Monk is hoping to change all that this season having saved the Blues from the drop in the spring, but his task has been made all the more challenging by a transfer embargo.

 

How’s their form?

The Blues have a point on the board after two games this season courtesy of a 2-2 home draw with Norwich City on the opening day. They led twice against the Canaries but conceded a last-minute equaliser having gone 2-1 up just seconds earlier.

They were then beaten 1-0 at Middlesbrough, losing Craig Gardner to a late red card which will see him miss the Swans clash.

Birmingham beat Cheltenham and Doncaster in pre-season, but lost to Akhmat Grozny and Las Palmas.

They spent part of their preparations for 2018-19 in the same hotel which the Swans used during their stay in Austria.

 

Who’s their boss?

He needs no introduction to Swans fans. Former skipper Monk goes down as a legend of the Liberty having played for the Swans in all four divisions and then led the club to their best Premier League finish during his stint as manager.

After spells in charge at Leeds and Middlesbrough, Monk took the Birmingham job in March and led the club to Championship survival on the final day of last season.

Alongside Monk at Birmingham are No. 2 Pep Clotet, coach James Beattie and analyst Ryan Needs, all of whom previously worked with him at the Swans.

 

Who are the key men?

Local lad Connal Trueman has been handed his chance in goal by Monk this season, with the 22-year-old getting his first taste of senior football having been picked ahead of the much more experienced Lee Camp.

Harlee Dean is a key man at centre-back, where he is likely to partner Michael Morrison.

Spanish attacking midfielder Jota scored five times last season as did DR Congo winger Jacques Maghoma, who was arguably Birmingham’s best player in 2017-18.

Ex-Sheffield United forward Che Adams, much-travelled targetman Lukas Jutkiewicz and Omar Bogle, who recently joined on loan from Cardiff, will be ones to watch in the Birmingham attack.