Carling Cup: Blues v Brentford
26 Oct 2010
Blues take on Brentford this evening looking to take another step nearer to the Final at Wembley.
Alex McLeish has already set his aims on reaching the final, but Brentford will be looking to stop the Premier League side from getting any further in the competition.
The Bees will come to St Andrews with nothing to lose and they have already knocked out Everton so Blues had better be careful.
Alex McLeish: 'We've got one or two knocks and one or two players running on empty and we have to be careful we don't burn them out.
'For instance, Roger Johnson has been playing with a calf problem for a while and, normally with calf injuries, you would be ruled out.
'Johnson is a different type of animal. He will play through things. You get characters like that, some guys have got higher pain thresholds than others.
'If we keep putting Johnson through the mill than we could lose him for longer
'But a couple of the players who would have come in have taken knocks in Murphy and Jiranek. I wanted to rest Johnson. Whether I can do that now is debatable.''
'Brentford have got nothing to lose. They are coming to a Premier League team. They can come relaxed knowing if they lose, it is expected, but if they win, then it is utopia for them.
'We know that has been the approach of the teams we have already knocked out of the cup with Rochdale and MK Dons putting in excellent performances.
'They raised their games and Brentford will do the same.''
Birmingham Team News:
Manager Alex McLeish may gamble on playing key Birmingham defender Roger Johnson in the home Carling Cup clash with Brentford even though he is nursing a calf problem.
Johnson has been dogged by the injury for several weeks and McLeish wanted to rest the former Cardiff player ahead of Sunday's derby with Aston Villa.
But thigh and hamstring injuries to back-up defenders Martin Jiranek and David Murphy means Johnson is likely to play as City look to book their quarter-final spot.
Former Sporting Gijon play-maker Michel will be given a rare start by McLeish after the form of Barry Ferguson has kept him out of the starting line-up.
Player to watch: Matt Derbyshire
Could be given a run out and he knows that a goal or two would boost his confidence in the league.
Brentford Team News:
Brentford will check on Charlie MacDonald.
The striker was withdrawn an hour into Saturday's 2-1 win over Peterborough due to illness but hopes to be fit.
On-loan Reading goalkeeper Ben Hamer is cup-tied so Richard Lee, the hero of the penalty shoot-out win over Everton in the previous round, comes back in.
Robbie Simpson and Nicky Forster were unused substitutes at the weekend following spells on the sidelines and should be involved again.
Simpson had been out for six weeks with a hamstring problem while former Birmingham frontman Forster had an operation on his troublesome groin a fortnight ago.
Player to watch: Richard Lee
The stopper was a hero against the scousers, he'll also have plenty to do tonight.
Match Facts & Stats
The two sides have never met in the League Cup. Their previous meetings in cup competitions were an FA Cup second-round tie in 1990, when Brentford won 3-1 at St Andrews, and a two-legged affair in the Leyland Daf Trophy the following year, which City won.
The Blues beat rivals Aston Villa over two legs to win the League Cup in 1963 and were runners up to Liverpool in 2001.
Brentford are appearing in the fourth round for only the second time in their history. They previously made it this far in 1982/83.
I think Blues will be too strong for Brentford, I'll go for 3-0.
Sun 31. 12:00 Aston Villa v Birmingham.
Sat 6. 15:00 Birmingham v West Ham United.
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