Well, it’s certainly a big one for the blues fans and definitely their cup final this season, regardless of what happens, isn’t it?
Because if they do beat us, even if they were to get relegated this season, they’d still think beating us was more important.
Now I know it sounds like I’m coming from some superior place, but beating Birmingham city isn’t that big a deal to me any more, it really isn’t.
And no, I haven’t gone mad; let me explain.
While of course, I’d love us to beat city and indeed give them a right good thrashing that would send them home with their tails in between their legs, it just isn’t the same when you’re playing in different leagues.
We’re expected to beat them, so what’s to be gained if we win? There’s the fact that it keeps them quiet and in their rightful place, of course.
And there’s the fact that if they win, we never hear the end of it, whatever league they’re in and it’s a stick they can beat us with.
So basically it’s more about bragging rights, to which I would expect many of you to say “that’s all it’s about”.
Which is fair enough, I suppose.
But if we were to lose, I’d just see it on a par as losing to Milwall or Orient.
Simply progressing to the next round is more important, regardless of who we beat.
So onto the game itself and I expect nothing other than the City team to go all out to win this.
Gary Rowett (the Villa fan?)’s got them going pretty well, especially when you look at the precarious position the club’s in. They’re currently sat at seventh in the championship, with a game in hand over the clubs above them.
The fans I’ve spoken to are very happy, tell me they’re playing well and many seem to think the play-offs are in the realms of reality. So it’s all good on their part.
Whereas, things aren’t so good for us.
We’ve acquired less points than I think we’ve deserved up to now and indeed are sat on only four out of six games.
That’s simply not good enough and there’s an air of malaise beginning to set back in, which even led to booing on Saturday.
I believe it’s way too early for that sort of stuff yet, but it’s by the by.
Suffice to say, we’re not at the top of things and it’s probably a perfect time for the enemy to be playing us.
Squad news then, and Birmingham have Neil Eardly out with a shoulder injury.
As for us, the bad news is that Gana, who seemed to be borderline for Saturday’s game has flown back to France for further treatment to his Hamstring.
Which begs the question what on earth happened there then?
Anyway, it’s definitely not good as he’s been massively missed.
Okore’s knee is still troubling the player and Traore is still doubtful, which might be a good thing as perhaps he’d just get kicked to bits again?
Otherwise, I think we’re ok, which still leaves Tim Sherwood with options.
So what to think?
I’m sure I read a passing comment that Rowett left quite a few of his main players out for their last game (but might be wrong), so they’re probably going to come with their strongest line-up.
If that is the case, I’d expect Sherwood to react similarly, with only a few changes.
Clark will probably come in, but I wonder if that might be part of a 3/5 at the back?
I’m not sure what could happen in the middle and I’d expect it to be similar to Saturday.
I’d expect a change up top though, with Sinclair rested and Gestede to start.
Not ideal for me, but we all know Gabby is guaranteed a start for some reason.
Which would mean what, we sit back, let them come at us and counter, hitting the ball long to Gestede or relying on Gabby to run at them?
And hopefully I’ve got that all wrong.
Still, we have to be pragmatic and the result is all important, I guess.
What’s my prediction then?
Well, as I’ve said, they’re on a high, whereas we’re somewhat at a low ebb.
Things haven’t gone for us lately (although a fair bit of it has been self-inflicted) and there’s massive pressure on the Villa team, something I feel will go against us, more than anything else.
Which just makes this a massive game. We need to restore some confidence and only a win will do.
Lose this and the fans will be on the manager’s back and that can only be a bad thing.
As I suggested, it’s not just about beating the blues.
This game could make or break our season and to me, that’s just more important.
Unfortunately, I’ll be delightfully surprised if we win this, as I think we’re going to lose.
They have things going for them and we don’t, which sometimes is what it comes down too, it’s as simple as that.
1-2, but I sincerely hope I’m wrong.
I’ve added a poll.