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Behind Enemy Lines: Birmingham City

MILLWALL go into this fixture on the back of successive league defeats to Barnsley and Brentford.

Steve Cotterill led Birmingham to a 1-0 win over Cardiff in his first match in charge. Millwall are two points ahead of Blues in the Championship table.

Lucas Ball spoke to Blues fan and MUTV cameraman Tom Reece this week.

Twitter: @tomadamreece

Why do you support Blues?

All my family are Birmingham fans from my grandad, dad and two brothers, so ultimately you don't get much choice but to be a bluenose in our house!

What’s your best season supporting Birmingham?

It’s between two, really. The first I'd say was the 2003-04 season- the second season in the Premier League. There was a massive buzz throughout the club knowing we'd be playing the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham etc. for another year having survived the previous season, finishing 13th.

We kept our best players at the club and signed what I believe has been the best technically gifted player Birmingham have ever had, in World Cup winner Christophe Dugarry. That season he was unbelievable and I couldn't wait to get to St. Andrews each game just to see him entertain the home crowd.

The other was a bitter sweet season in 2010-11. We were relegated from the Premier League but, against all the odds, beat Arsenal in the Carling Cup final 2-1, scoring the winner in the last couple of minutes to win a major domestic trophy, something I may never see again in my lifetime.

It meant I'd be following Birmingham away in the Europa League the following season despite them playing in the Championship. A fantastic experience, especially the night we beat Club Brugge 2-1 away from home. An unforgettable atmosphere.

Was sacking Harry Redknapp the right decision?

Personally, I'd like to have seen Harry get another few games in charge. He bought 14 players in that summer transfer window and without doubt it would take time for the team to gel and get to know one another.

Football's a cut-throat business these days and if you lose a few games in a row, managers are under pressure no matter your reputation.

How are the new signings settling in? There were plenty of them.

It's difficult to say at the moment as we've had very mixed results and with three people managing the team already this season they've changed a few players around.

We spent a lot of money on some known Championship players this season and I'm sure once Steve Cotterill finds his best 11 we'll see why they were brought in for that money.

One big player to have back is our most dangerous player going forward, Che Adams, who's been out injured for most of the season and possibly one of the reasons why Redknapp didn't get the results he needed. He showed his quality in the last game against Cardiff, scoring the only goal of the match with a superb solo effort to get a very welcome  three points.

It was an excellent organised team performance and a perfect start for Steve, beating the side who were top of the league.

Which of Steve Cotterill's players should the Lions look out for?

Che Adams, as previously mentioned, is our biggest goal threat. He's been excellent since he signed. Cotterill played him up front with Isaac Vassell (a new signing who was very impressive against Cardiff) who's got pace and power.

I don't expect him to change that front two. Jota – who we signed for £6million from Brentford at the end of the transfer window – was back on the bench against Cardiff, having been out injured. He's apparently got bags of talent so I'm looking forward to seeing what attacking threat he can bring to our side if he gets on.

Which Millwall players will Blues have to be wary of?

Lee Gregory looks like he'll score a few goals this season and could be a handful for our defenders on his day.

George Saville is also having a good season in midfield having scored a few goals already.

Another name I'm interested to see play is Ryan Tunnicliffe, whom I filmed for quite some years through the Academy and Reserves at Manchester United. I always thought he had a lot of talent and would have a good career in football, an aggressive midfielder who loved a tackle. I think his career’s been a bit up and down since he left United but hopefully he'll find his form and settle at Millwall.

What’s your predicted Birmingham formation and line-up?

I can't really see Cotterill changing the team from the previous match against Cardiff after the win and performance they gave. So he'll probably go 4-5-1.

4-5-1

Kuszczak

Colin Morrison Roberts Grounds

Keiftenbeld Davis N'Doye

Adams Maghoma

Vassell

If Jota is fit he may replace Jacques Maghoma, but I don't expect any other changes unless there's any injuries leading up to the game.

Finally, a score prediction?

Both teams need the points and I expect a battling performance from both of these two sides, particularly in midfield. I'm going to have to say Millwall 1-2 Birmingham – Vassell and Adams the goal scorers at The Den.

Graphic: @ShedCreative 

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)