Meet the opposition | Birmingham City

18th March 2022
First team
Birmingham City players celebrate a goal

Swansea City host Birmingham City at the Swansea.com Stadium on Saturday and here we take a look at the visitors’ form and key figures.

 

What’s their story?

Formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, they went through a handful of name changes before settling on Birmingham City in 1943.

Their most successful period came in the 1950s and 60s reaching the FA Cup final in 1956 and achieving a club high finish of sixth in the first division the same season. Seven years later, they won the League Cup for the first time.

Although the Blues have spent around half of their club’s history in the top flight of English football, since 1986 they have spent only nine years in the Premier League. They have been competing in the second tier since their relegation at the end of the 2010-11 season. That season also marked their last silverware as they defeated Arsenal in the League Cup final winning the trophy for a second time and joining Norwich City and Wigan Athletic with the unwanted honour of winning a domestic cup and suffering relegation from the top flight in the same season.

 

How’s their form?

Inconsistent. They have been struggling for wins lately, however, they are some distance clear of the drop zone.

For the season as a whole, they are averaging two points per game, but recent form has dropped off slightly and the Blues have secured nine points in 10 games with two wins, three draws and five defeats. The Blues have a fairly good defensive record registering 12 clean sheets this season, however, heavy defeats to Fulham and Blackburn Rovers mean they have a -16 goal difference.

 

Who’s the boss?

Lee Bowyer Birmingham City manager

Lee Bowyer. The former midfielder made 397 Premier League appearances with 94 of those coming for Birmingham between 2009 and 2011. He departed the Blues following the side’s relegation to the Championship playing one season at Ipswich Town before retiring.

Bowyer returned to his first professional club, Charlton Athletic, as a coach and in 2017 became assistant manager under then-manager Karl Robinson. Following Robinson’s departure in March the following year, he took over as caretaker until the end of the season leading the side to a play-off semi-final.

He remained in caretaker charge of the Latics until being named permanent manager in September. That season, he went one better leading the side to the Championship with a 2-1 win over Sunderland in the play-off final.

On March 15 2021, he left Charlton and joined Birmingham as head coach the next day. Since making the move to St Andrews, he has overseen 51 games, winning 16 and drawing 13.

 

Who’s the captain?

Troy Deeney celebrates scoring a goal for Birmingham City

Troy Deeney. The former Watford man was named as Blues’ club captain in January following the departure of Harlee Dean to League One side Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

He is yet to make an appearance since being formally given the armband due to an injury sustained at the turn of the year – though he is close to a return it is unlikely he will feature Saturday. In his absence, 29-year-old Gary Gardner has been stepping up, and has been praised for his performances by manager Bowyer.

The midfielder has wracked up more than 100 appearances for the Blues since joining from West Midlands rivals Aston Villa permanently in 2019.

 

Key men

Scott Hogan Birmingham City

Acting captain Gary Gardner makes things tick in the middle of the park for the Blues which has drawn praise from the Blues boss Lee Bowyer in recent weeks. The 29-year-old made his debut for Aston Villa 11 years ago but found a home at St Andrews after making the switch permanent eight years later after a successful loan spell. So far this season he has scored five goals – his best return in a single campaign.

Republic of Ireland international Scott Hogan leads the goal scoring for the Blues with 10. The 29-year-old has a pretty good record of 0.45 goals every 90 minutes – he made his return from an injury in the Blues' defeat to Middlesbrough in midweek. Initially on the bench, he was called upon part way through the first half after an injury to Teden Mengi.

Left wing back Jeremie Bela is a good outlet for Bowyer’s side contributing four assists this campaign. He may not feature this weekend as he missed out at Hull City due to illness and was an unused substitute in midweek. Defensively, injuries have played a massive part with Mengi and George Friend both out for some time, Marc Roberts is the only fit recognised centre back and will be key to their defensive efforts this weekend.

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