Meet the opposition | Birmingham City
As Swansea City get set to host Birmingham City at the Swansea.com Stadium on Saturday (3pm), we take a closer look at the Blues’ history, form and the key figures at the club.
What’s their story?
Initially formed in 1875 as Small Heath Alliance, the club became Small Heath and then Birmingham, before finally settling on its current name in 1943.
Small Heath are listed as one of the founding members of the Football League Second Division and were the first champions of that league.
The Blues have played home matches at their St. Andrew’s ground for 116 years.
The highest league finish in the Blues 147-year history came in the 1955-56 season where they finished sixth in the First Division. They also reached the FA Cup final that year – their joint best performance in that competition, having also finished as runners-up 1931.
Birmingham are two-time winners of the EFL Cup (1963 and 2011) and were runners up in 2001. They are currently in their 12th straight season at Championship level.
How’s their form?
Not good. The Blues have picked up three points in their past six games suffering five consecutive league defeats.
It is a run that has seen them drop five places in the Championship table. Ahead of this match they sit 19th and six points above the relegation zone.
Who’s the gaffer?
John Eustace. The former Coventry City, Stoke City and Watford midfielder joined the Blues as head coach in the summer.
He began his coaching career with two years at Kidderminster Harriers before leaving to join Queens Park Rangers as an assistant manager under Steve McClaren.
Following McClaren’s departure, he retained his role under Mark Warburton and remained loyal to the former Brentford boss despite having opportunities to take on the lead job at other clubs.
However, he departed the London outfit following the appointment of Rangers’ new manager Michael Beale, after Warburton's exit was confirmed at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.
As a player, Eustace came through the ranks at Coventry and became a first-team player when the Sky Blues were in the top-flight.
Notable spells at Stoke, Watford and Derby followed in a career that took in just shy of 400 league appearances.
Who’s the captain?
Lifelong Blue, Troy Deeney is Birmingham City’s captain. While the Birmingham-born striker spent much of his career at Watford, becoming synonymous with the club, he completed a homecoming transfer in August 2021 as he joined the team he’d supported as a child.
The 34-year-old added plenty of experience to the squad and is closing in on 600 career appearances.
Prior to his eleven years at the Hornets, he spent four years at midlands outfit Walsall.
Who are the key men?
Skipper Deeney was on the scoresheet when the Swans travelled to St Andrew’s earlier this term, and he has a habit of being in the right place in the right time for his club. He’s scored six goals this season and contributed with one assist.
The club’s top scorer is Scott Hogan and he was also on the scoresheet last the two sides met. The experienced Championship striker has registered nine goals and two assists this term but hasn’t got on the scoresheet since the draw with the Swans.
The Blues have a combative midfield driven by Manchester United loanee Hannibal. The Tunisian international joined the Blues on loan at the start of the season and has made 24 appearances chipping with three assists. Not one to shy away from a tackle, the 20-year-old has picked up eight yellow cards this term.
The Tunisian featured in a 0-0 draw with Denmark at the World Cup and was an unused substitute in the African nation’s historic 1-0 victory over eventual runners-up France. He was one of two Birmingham players who to Qatar with Poland’s Krystian Bielik the other.
The 25-year-old has played in England since a 2015 transfer to Arsenal. He’s spent most of his time in the Championship making more than 100 appearances in the division and adds height and experience to the side. He is on loan from League One Derby County and played in all four of Poland’s World Cup matches.
On the wing, Tahith Chong provides pace and trickery. He signed a permanent deal with Birmingham on deadline day following a successful loan spell from Manchester United last term. This season, he has recorded six goal involvements with four goals and two assists.
At the back, American centre back Austin Trusty has proven invaluable to the defence. Standing at 6 ft 3, the commanding defender has been an ever-present in the teams line-up making 30 appearances so far this season.