The chaps over at The FA usually reserve the delights of Bolton Wanderers against Birmingham City for the final game of the season, but alas this campaign it comes seven months early. Wanderers fans will be hoping that the date usually pencilled in for entertaining Birmingham does not see them occupying their current league position - as the Whites are now rooted to the bottom of the Championship.
And to counter that lowly positioning Neil Lennon has tonight somewhat of a major surprise by starting with two up front, with those two being the not the most mobile Gary Madine and the bordering on immobile Emile Heskey, in what we suspect to be a 4-4-2 formation. Mark Davies returns as Neil Danns drops out of the starting lineup for the first time this season, while Derik and Casado retain their places at full-back and Feeney and Silva are expected to drop a little deeper into midfield than we've been accustomed to of late.
For the visitors Paul Robinson makes another return to the Macron at the heart of Birmingham's defence, while the biggest threats are likely to come from widemen Demarai Gray and Jacques Maghoma and lone striker Clayton Donaldson, who has four goals this season.
While Bolton's away form isn't worth depressing yourself thinking about, we are still unbeaten at home this season - albeit we've only won once in five matches. We've only scored five times at the Macron this season, and only conceded four, so the prospect of a goalfest appears to be somewhat against the odds.
Tonight's visitors Birmingham are in hugely contrasting form. They've won three on the trot, have scored the same number of goals away from home as Bolton have scored in total (nine), are unbeaten away from home since April and are currently joint second in the league as one of four sides on 21 points - just four behind leaders Brighton.
But if you're looking for positives then Bolton have only lost once on the last eight occasions they've entertained Birmingham - although that was last season, but then we beat them away from home (surely not?!).
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|Jose Manuel Casado
Substitutes: Paul Rachubka, Prince, Josh Vela, Max Clayton, Neil Danns, Stephen Dobbie, Kaiyne Woolery
Substitutes: Adam Legzdins, Viv Solomon-Otabor, Reece Brown, Jon Toral, Shane Lowry, Nicolai Brock-Madsen