Birmingham City have been on the slide under Gianfranco Zola and head to Portman Road this Saturday to play Ipswich Town in what would be a crucial game for the Blues.
They sit only 5 points above the relegation zone with just 2 wins in their last 17 games. That run has seen them slip to 18th in the table and despite an encouraging draw with Newcastle last time out, they appear set to struggle once more against an Ipswich side whose performances have been better than what their recent results would suggest.
Expected Starting Lineup:
GK – Tomasz Kuszczak
The Pole, formerly of Manchester United, will retain his place ahead of Adam Legzdins.
CB – Krystian Bielik
The 19-year-old, on loan from Arsenal, did well last time out and should line-up alongside the more experienced Ryan Shotton and Paul Robinson.
CB – Ryan Shotton
Having signed from Derby last season, Shotton has gone on to make 35 appearances for the Blues this year and has been one of their most consistent performers.
CB – Paul Robinson
The veteran defender, now 38, would retain his place in the back three but will be susceptible to any pace in the Ipswich attack.
RM – Emilio Nsue
Effective as a midfielder and as a right-back, this role is ideal for the man from Palma and another attacking display can be expected.
CM – David Davis
Reaching his peak in the midfield with 34 Championship appearances to his name this season and scoring 4 goals, Davis has little threat to his place in midfield right now.
CM – Robert Tesche
A free transfer from Nottingham Forest, Tesche hadn’t fully nailed down a place in the side until recently. But he may start again, at the expense of Stephen Gleeson.
CM – Maikel Kieftenbeld
Adding some solidity to the midfield, the defensive-minded Dutchman will most likely be employed once again by Zola to protect the 3-man back line.
LM – Jonathan Grounds
The former Boro man, from whom big things were expected, is perhaps not attack-minded enough for this role but will be deployed there once again. He does, however, have 3 assists in the league this season.
CAM – Craig Gardner
A strange choice for this role in recent times, Zola looks likely to persevere with the former West Brom stalwart as part of what looks like a battling, but a rather pedestrian line-up.
ST – Lukas Jutkiewicz
Despite the presence of Clayton Donaldson in the squad, Jutkiewicz has a solid goal scoring reputation and should be preferred in an unchanged line-up.