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Blues Take On Bolton

Birmingham City
Bolton Wanderers

St Andrews


Birmingham manager Alex McLeish let all players that were not involved in international duty over the last week the whole week off to completely recharge their batteries ahead of this game with Bolton.

Since winning the League Cup at Wembley, Blues have not tasted success and are looking a good bet to go down on current form. But sitting in the relegation zone can`t be good for players` confidence.

Vital Quotes:

Roger Johnson: 'The League Cup final took it out of us for a week maybe and you might expect a reaction the following game.

'But certainly not four games after that would you expect it. It's not good enough

'We are a good bunch and it does hurt us to see where we are in the league, certainly after last season and now winning the Carling Cup.

'We have talked amongst ourselves about it. We all know are down there and we need to step things up.

'People have got to start stepping up to the plate and showing why they are at this club.'

Birmingham City Team News:

Birmingham's leading scorer Nikola Zigic and midfielder Lee Bowyer are poised to return for Saturday's home Premier League clash with Bolton.

Eight-goal Zigic made his comeback from a groin injury by playing for Serbia in midweek.

Bowyer has resumed full training after recovering from a hamstring problem.

Playmaker Alexander Hleb could also be added to the squad after having an injection to ease his knee problem.

But central defender Martin Jiranek is doubtful after undergoing a minor toe operation.

Birmingham (from): Foster, Doyle, Carr, Parnaby, Johnson, Jiranek, Davies, Ridgewell, Murphy, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, Garner, Mutch, Beausejour, Fahey, Bentley, Jerome, Zigic, Martins, Phillips, Hleb.

Player to watch: David Bentley

Blues need him to turn on the magic that he can work and maybe pop in a spectacular free kick.

Bolton Wanderers Team News:

Bolton boss Owen Coyle is short of central midfielders.

Stuart Holden has been ruled out for six months after damaging knee ligaments in the defeat by Manchester United last time out, while Mark Davies is a major doubt as he continues to battle an ankle injury.

That means Tamir Cohen could make his first Premier League start of the season, with England Under-21 international Fabrice Muamba also in contention.

Zat Knight (knee) is back in training but not yet ready for a return, while Sean Davis (knee) and Sam Ricketts (Achilles) are both long-term absentees.

Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Cahill, Wheater, Muamba, Petrov, K Davies, Elmander, Klasnic, Taylor, Alonso, Rodrigo, Cohen, Steinsson, Blake, Lee, Bogdan, Sturridge.

Player to watch: Gary Cahill

Good, solid defender, also been finding the net recently with three goals.

Match Facts & Stats

(Facts from BBC)

The Blues have won two of their last nine league games and scored only 14 goals in their last 17 top-flight matches.

Birmingham have won 19 Premier League games since their promotion in 2009. All but one of those victories have been by a one-goal margin.

The Blues have won just four of 15 home games this season - the equal-fewest in the Premier League along with Blackpool, Newcastle and Wigan.

City's next goal will be their 100th in the Premier League under Alex McLeish.

Owen Coyle's men are yet to lose against a side in the bottom half of the table this season.

The Trotters are unbeaten in seven Premier League encounters against clubs from the Midlands this campaign (W4, D3).

Wanderers have lost seven of their last eight Premier League away matches.

If selected, Jussi Jaaskelainen will be making his 450th league appearance for Bolton.

Ref Watch:

The referee for this game is Michael Oliver, to find out more about him CLICK HERE

Match Prediction:

Although Bolton beat us in the FA Cup at St Andrews a short time ago, the lads will be more up for this one as the game is more imortant. So I'll say 2-1 to City.

Next Fixtures:

09 Apr 2011 Blackburn v Birmingham
16 Apr 2011 Birmingham v Sunderland
20 Apr 2011 Chelsea v Birmingham
23 Apr 2011 Liverpool v Birmingham

Date:Friday April 1 2011
Time: 5:39PM

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