Birmingham City Home Preview 16/17

Magpies Look To Put Tough Run Behind Them

Newcastle are back in action this afternoon looking to put a tough and controversial couple of weeks behind them that has seen them exit the League cup, lose back to back league games and as of last night relinquish top spot in the league.

It is a situation that 2 weeks ago would have seemed unthinkable as we went into what looked like a routine home game against Blackburn with a healthy lead at the top and what looked like a winnable cup game on the horizon.

Whilst we all know that the Nottingham Forest debacle was somewhat out of our control we cant have any complaints about the other 2 defeats.

Against Blackburn we were just far too complacent both in the team selection and in our attitude on the pitch. It is an issue that has cropped up a few times so far this season but in a lot of games our bit of extra quality has seen us get away with it but it is something that needs nipping in the bud quickly if this seasons promotion aim is in fact to be achieved as easily as possible.

The cup game against Hull was a different story in that I think we went into that with a better attitude but just didnt take our chances and make our dominance count which again is something that has happened at times in other games this season.

For all the plaudits we have received for our reaction to relegation and our winning run etc I do think there is still room for massive amounts of improvement from the side. Without wanting to sound arrogant, with the squad we have we should really be out of sight at the top of the table and the fact we have now lost as many games so far this season as last seasons champions Burnley lost all season is a worry and the fact the majority of our defeats have also come at home is an even bigger worry.

It might sound like I am stating the obvious here but we need to be winning our home games and at the very least starting to turn some of these defeats into draws. Whilst we played poorly against Blackburn and were up against it with 9 men against Forest we arguably should have come out of both of those games with a point rather than 2 defeats.

Of course you want to be winning games but it seems to be one extreme or the other with us - we need to start picking up points when we are not necessarily playing well, that is what the top teams in any league do well. We keep losing games then it will catch up with us and you can see from the last couple of weeks a couple of defeats can see any kind of lead at the top disappear quickly.

Thankfully there is still a bit of a cushion between us and the play off places but we have to get back to winning ways today especially being at home. Were we to fail today then the pressure would really start to ramp up on the side going into the busy Christmas period.

Birmingham of course are no mugs having a very good season and sitting in the playoff places.

I have to say that has somewhat surprised me, you look at their squad and there are no big names or stand out players but as we know that isnt always the key thing and to be where they are they must be working well as a team and picking up points that way.

They suffered a big set back last week at home to Barnsley so they will no doubt be treating this as a big opportunity to bounce back.

At the same time we need to be using that as an opportunity to get at them early and hopefully inflict a similarly disappointing day for them.

I think an early goal is key - when we dont get an early goal everyone always seems to get very aprehensive which doesnt help.

From a team point of view it is obviously a massive bonus that the Shelvey and Dummett red cards have been recinded and they are free to play.

No new names on the injury list I dont think although Perez did apparently miss training with ilness so could be a doubt.

I dont expect any major shocks in this one - I think we will play our strongest team possible with a view to hopefully getting back to winning ways.

Massive game today especially with Brighton winning last night so the players know what they need to do and rather than feeling sorry for themselves just need to go out there and do it.

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