With the game going ahead despite yesterday’s heavy snowfall, Albion will to hope to continue their 2013 momentum by making it 4 wins from 4 as they take on Birmingham.
A 2-1 home win over Derby last weekend maintained the Seagulls’ 100% record since the turn of the year, with the team situated in 8th place – 3 points off the play-off spots.
Lee Clark’s Birmingham side have been floundering in the lower reaches of the table for most of the season, and have managed just 1 win in their last 7 Championship outings.
Gus Poyet is calling for his players to place their unabiding attention on the task at St. Andrew’s, despite their eye-catching FA Cup draw.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “We have got to focus on Birmingham. They have been better away from home but they need points because they are slowly dropping down the league.
“They have plenty of experience and if they click they could be like any team at the top of the Championship. Our job is to make sure they do not click this Saturday.
“We have been very good away if you look at the numbers and we need that to continue. To do that we need to do what we do best and control the game.”
Birmingham City Team News:
Lee Clark could have midfielders Hayden Mullins (calf) and Callum Reilly (illness) back amongst his options, although Jonathan Spector misses out.
Winger Rob Hall, on loan from West Ham, returns to the squad after being unavailable to play in their FA Cup defeat to Leeds United.
Player to watch: Chris Burke
A proven and consistent performer in the Championship, Burke netted the only goal in Birmingham’s 1-0 win at the Amex earlier this season – a fine half-volley from outside the area. Capable of providing top quality service from wide areas, as well as getting into dangerous scoring positions.
Brighton & Hove Albion Team News:
New signing Leonardo Ulloa could make his Seagulls bow if he receives international clearance in time, although he would most likely take a place on the bench.
Craig Mackail-Smith is expected to be fit after missing last Saturday’s win over Derby with a tight hamstring, however Bruno (Achilles) remains sidelined.
Player to watch: Andrea Orlandi
With 2 goals in his last 2 games, the stylish midfielder will want to continue to showcase his scoring ability from deep. A classy operator in the creative hub of the side, Orlandi can drift wide into a conventional left-wing position, or pick passes from a more central berth.
Past Meetings & Stats
Albion have yet to beat Birmingham since they returned to the Championship, with their record reading; 2 draws and a defeat, scoring 1 goal..
They are also yet to beat a Lee Clark side in 6 attempts since the former Newcastle man went into full-time management.
Phil Dowd is the man in the middle for this one.