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Birmingham City v. Bolton

ccwinOh I'm starting to get nervous now. Tomorrow Bolton Wanderers travel down the M6 to St. Andrews to attempt to make it to the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 2000. This is the first time we've faced Birmingham in the FA Cup since 1955, when they won 2-1. However our recent history against the Blues has been much more successful, undefeated in the last four matches against them with three of those being wins. None of that really matters though. What matters is tomorrow, whether or not we can translate recent dominance into a trip to Wembley. While I'd say we have a pretty good chance of going through, this is not a match we should be overly cocky about.

Birmingham may have lost their last two games, but we should not forget that the game before that was a win against Arsenal at Wembley for some silverware. Unfortunately for McLeish, Nikola Zigic (has anyone told him that's a girl's name yet?) who was one of the scorers at Wembley, is doubtful for the match. He is joined on that list by Lee Bowyer, David Bentley, Keith Fahey, Stephen Carr, Liam Ridgewell, and Craig Gardner, all of whom but Bentley played a role in the final. The doubtful list also contains 3 of the top 4 scorers for Birmingham this season in Zigic, Gardener, and Ridgewell.

While all of this team news looks good for Bolton, we do have our own woes to worry about. Zat Knight is still out, and ever since he got injured our defense has looked leakier than the Titanic. We haven't conceded once this cup run, but I would not be shocked if that record was ruined tomorrow. We will of course be without Danny Sturridge, as he is cup-tied, and Ricardo Gardener has gone out on loan to Preston, although his absence won't be much noticed. Coyle has rested Chung-Yong recently and playing Elmander in his place. Johan could have been worse, but I reckon it is time to hand the starting shirt back to Chungy. With Sturridge out, Klasnic remains our most in form striker, and should start up front with Super Kev. I would start Matty Taylor on the left hand side given our depleted defense as he can get back much better than Petrov.

Last weekend was certainly not our best performance of the season, but it was a step in the right direction. Our dip in form looks to be behind us, and booking a place in the semi-finals of football's oldest competition would be a good way to cement this. Come on you white men!