Peterborough United -Vs- Birmingham City - Preview
Peterborough United host their first game of 2012 as Birmingham City travel to London Road.
Peterborough United -Vs- Birmingham City
Venue: London Road
Date: 2nd January, 2012
Six weeks after battling out a 1-1 draw at St Andrews, Peterborough United and Birmingham City go head to head again in the npower Championship.
The Blues travel to London Road on the back of an impressive 3-0 win over play-off hopefuls Blackpool while Posh are unbeaten in four matches and recorded a 1-1 draw away at automatic promotion chasing Middlesbrough.
Posh are still without the injured Mark Little, Lee Frecklington, skipper Grant McCann and Lee Tomlin, although Little and Tomlin should be back in contention for next weeks FA Cup 4th Round tie at home to Sunderland. McCann and Frecklington are expected to be out of action for another four weeks.
Left back Tom Kennedy has also returned to parent club Leicester City after his loan deal expired after the New Year`s Eve game at Middlesbrough.
Youngster Joe Newell, who has made a number of substitute appearances in the past few weeks, will make the starting squad with Tommy Rowe reverting to left back.
Manchester United loanee Ryan Tunnicliffe has agreed to extend his loan period until the end of the season but has been suffering from illness. He is not fit enough to feature amongst the substitutes. Fellow United loanee Scott Wootton should retain his starting place after two impressive appearances at the base of the midfield diamond.
Youth team players Dan Lawlor and Peter Grant are expected to retain their places on the substitutes bench with their being a lack of first team players available. This also means forward Emile Sinclair, who has been particularly poor in recent matches, will start up front with Paul Taylor.
Vital Posh predicts the starting line-up could be:
Alcock, Bennett, Zakuani, Rowe
Winger Nathan Redmond could make the starting line up after scoring against Blackpool.
Defender Stephen Carr has a knee injury and faces a race to be fit in time for the match. The Blues skipper is manager Chris Hughton`s only injury concern.
Posh boss Darren Ferguson believes his team are in for a tough test: "Birmingham are in good form and Chris Hughton has done a very good job at St. Andrews combining the league with the Europa League. We got a point at St. Andrews when we probably didn't deserve it for our first half display. They caused us problems and it will be a tough test for us and we have plenty of injuries to contend with.".
STATS & FACTS
Posh will be looking to win their opening League fixture of the year for the fourth time out of five years. Birmingham have a much worse record for the opening fixture of the year having only won once since 2000 and that came in 2006 against Wigan.
The Blues are looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since October.
Head to Head statistics between these two teams can be found HERE.
A form guide to Birmingham and Posh can be found HERE.
8 - McCann
6 - Taylor
6 - Sinclair
5 - Tomlin
5 - Frecklington
5 - Boyd
9 - Wood
6 - King
5 - Burke
The away game at St Andrews was a very tough game which we managed to sneak a draw. The Blues don`t travel well but picked up a convincing win over Blackpool at home at the weekend so their confidence will be high going into this game.
This should be a very tight game with not a lot between the teams.
Vital Posh predicts a tight game ending in a battling 0 - 0 draw.
Jonathon MOSS takes charge of this clash. He has officiated 17 matches so far this season where he has shown 62 yellow cards and seven red cards!
The last time Moss officiated a Posh match was in the League One Play-Off final at MK Dons! That match ended in a 3-2 defeat which also saw Charlie Lee sent off for two yellow cards while Gleeson was controversially sent off for the Dons. Luke Chadwick also received a yellow card in that game.
Moss last took charge of a Birmingham match in January 2011 when they won 2-1 away at Blackpool. Only one player got booked in that game - Blues keeper Ben Foster!
He will be assisted by Mark Scholes and Ian Gosling.
The fourth official is Dean Whitestone.
UP THE POSH
Follow me on Twitter: @mwl1967
Photos/images courtesy of www.theposhpics.com
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