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Match Preview: Birmingham City v. Bolton Wanderers

Chris takes a look forward to the upcoming game against Birmingham City

LCY, back when he was good, scores against Birmingham keeper Ben Foster
LCY, back when he was good, scores against Birmingham keeper Ben Foster
Jamie McDonald

So, following on from a morale-boosting 0-0 away draw against Blackpool on Tuesday, Wanderers face another tough away game this Saturday as we travel to the midlands to take on Birmingham City.

The two clubs have a long and varied history when it comes to playing one another - 122 meetings have taken place since the first back in 1894, when the opposition were known as Small Heath, in a game which ended 4-3 to the Wanderers. Since that day, Bolton have enjoyed 49 wins to Birmingham's 41, with 32 draws in between.

The 2013/14 season marks Birmingham City's 111th season in the Football League, and third consecutive season in the Championship since their relegation from the Premier League. Managed by Lee Clark, who garnered a favourable reputation at Huddersfield Town before leaving under a cloud, they have established themselves as a solid Championship side, without ever really troubling the top ten.

A busy summer at the club saw Jonathan Spector, Wade Elliott, Colin Doyle and ex-Wanderer Paul Robinson sign contract extensions, with outgoings including club captain Stephen Carr, Steven Caldwell, Pablo Ibáñez, Morgaro Gomis, Keith Fahey and Adam Rooney released on free transfers. Curtis Davies and Nathan Redmond were sold to Premier League clubs Hull City and Norwich City respectively, whilst high earners Marlon King, Peter Løvenkrands, Hayden Mullins and Darren Ambrose were told they were free to leave if they could find another club, though not all did.

Unsurprisingly there were no takers for striker Nikola Žigić, reportedly on a £50,000 a week deal, a major hangover from their Premier League spending.

Incoming signings consisted primarily of free transfers including goalkeeper Darren Randolph from Motherwell, midfielder Andrew Shinnie, from Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Blackpool right-back Neal Eardley, midfielder Tom Adeyemi from Norwich City, forward Lee Novak from Football Manager 2009 and Conference top scorer Matt Green from Mansfield Town.

The club also entered the loan market, bringing in young centre-backs Kyle Bartley (another ex-Wanderer) from Swansea City, Fulham's Dan Burn, attacking midfielder Scott Allan from West Bromwich Albion, and Newcastle United wing-back Shane Ferguson, who had spent time on loan at Birmingham in 2012-13. Most crucial however was the September loan signing of Jesse Lingard from Manchester United, who memorably scored four goals on his debut for the club.

Ten games into the new season and Birmingham City are in a familiar position in 17th place. Three wins from those ten games reflects favourably when compared to our own start (but let's face it, who doesn't), though six losses represents a high tally for this early stage of the season. It is bound to be a competitive game at St Andrews, it usually is, and Wanderers need to be on the ball.

Last Five Meetings

29.08.2010 - Bolton Wanderers 2-2 Birmingham City (Kevin Davies (pen), Robbie Blake)

12.03.2011 - Birmingham City 2-3 Bolton Wanderers (Johan Elmander, Kevin Davies, Chung-Yong Lee)

02.04.2011 - Birmingham City 2-1 Bolton Wanderers (Johan Elmander)

18.09.2012 - Birmingham City 2-1 Bolton Wanderers (Chris Eagles)

29.12.2012 - Bolton Wanderers 3-1 Birmingham City (Marcos Alonso, Chung-Yong Lee, Keith Andrews (pen))

Prediction

Heart says that we will build on the positives from Tuesday night, and the chances that the team is creating will be put away by someone, anyone. We'll scrape a 1-0 win, courtesy of Jermaine Beckford.

Head says that the heart is pissed, and we'll lose 3-0.