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Birmingham City – The Scout Report

Following a testing and turbulent week in the world of Newcastle United, Rafa Benitez’s men have the opportunity to get back on track with a home tie against high-flying Birmingham City. The match will certainly be a test but like every team in this league, by no means should they be feared.

Birmingham City – A Factfile

Founded: 1875

Nickname: Blues

Stadium: St Andrew’s (30,016 capacity)

Manager: Gary Rowett

2015-16: Championship, 10th

Major Honours: League Cup (1963, 2011)

Notable Signings

Ryan Shotton – CB/RB – Shotton is a versatile defender signed on an undisclosed fee from Derby County in the summer. The ex-Stoke City graduate impressed while on loan at the Blues last season, securing his permanent move following nine quality displays which helped Birmingham climb to witin reach of the Play-Offs. Shotton is well-travelled throughout the English Football League, having been sent out on loan many times in his career, however now it seems with a key role in Birmingham’s team, he has found a club to settle at.

Che Adams – ST – Adams was the subject of major interest from a number of reputable clubs in the summer transfer window however it was Birmingham City who secured his signature on a long-term deal. The 20-year old is deemed as one of the Football League’s premium talents after showing promising signs at his first professional club Sheffield United.

Notable Departures

Jon Toral – CM – Arsenal loanee during 2015-16, Toral was arguably Birmingham’s star player last season with eight league goals in 36 appearances, making him a key man at St Andrew’s. Unable to secure a permanent deal for the Spanish-born playmaker, he was loaned out once again by his parent club to Granada in La Liga. His obvious talent and skill on the ball will certainly be missed but Birmingham are fairing relatively well without him so far.

Key Players

Clayton Donaldson – ST – Veteran, Caribbean goalscorer Donaldson has been a mainstay in the Football League, scoring goals wherever he has played, including at Birmingham City this season where he already has five goals to his name. Donaldson is a powerful striker and while his mobility has dwindled in recent years, his goalscoring prowess against second division defences remains solid.

Michael Morrison – CB – Centre-back enforcer Morrison began his career in the lower reaches of the professional game at Cambridge United. He does not have international caps or Premier League experience but is experienced in the Championship and certainly knows what it takes to grind out results in such a notoriously gritty league. He will be tested by the likes of Gayle and Mitrovic though, two strikers he has never come up against before.

Maikel Kieftenbeld – CM – Kieftenbeld is a defensive midfielder primarily, but can operate as a deep-lying playmaker. Educated at FC Twente’s youth academy in the Netherlands, he plied his trade in his home country for seven years before switching to the Championship with Birmingham City. Kieftenbeld is a tidy player and not easy to dispossess, which may pose a challenge to United’s midfield.

Last Six Results

Burton Albion 2-0 Birmingham City – 21/10/16

Birmingham City 1-1 Aston Villa – 30/10/16
Huddersfield Town 1-1 Birmingham City – 5/11/16

Birmingham City 1-0 Bristol City – 19/11/16

Brentford 1-2 Birmingham City – 26/11/16

Birmingham City 0-3 Barnsley – 3/12/16

Gary Rowett

Rowett was a former Birmingham City player himself in the late 1990s, and travelled the length and breadth of England playing for a number of clubs in the Football League and the Premier League including Derby County and Leicester City.

Rowett embarked on his managerial career with Burton Albion in 2012 and guided the club to the League Two Play-Offs twice with a brand of pragmatic football. Rowett was headhunted by the Blues in 2014 and took over there, stabilising the club and ensuring a top half finish in 2016. Rowett has set up his teams very well, focusing primarily on being hard to beat and being defensively solid.

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