Behind Enemy Lines: Birmingham City

HAVING not won away all season until January 20 and the epic 4-3 victory at Leeds, Millwall are aiming for a third successive win on the road when they face Birmingham this weekend.

Tim Cahill made his second debut for the Lions in their last match, a 1-1 draw against Cardiff, with Lee Gregory netting for the home side. Shaun Hutchinson, one of the front-runners for Lions player of the season, put in another excellent performance.

The last meeting between Birmingham and Millwall was televised, and the hosts put on a show in front of the cameras, winning 2-0 win thanks to an own goal and Ryan Tunnicliffe’s strike.

The Blues are still in relegation trouble, just two points above the bottom three. Millwall are nine points clear of Birmingham.

Lucas Ball spoke to Birmingham fan Ashley Neale this week.

Twitter: @Brummie1232

Why do you support Birmingham?

Where I grew up, it was mainly Aston Villa territory, so all my friends were Villa fans.

My dad, though, was a Blues fan so he would take me and my brother to games when we were growing up in the mid-90s, back when Barry Fry was manager.

We weren't the greatest but they were great days. I got the bug and have been going down ever since.

What’s your best season following the Blues?

2002-03: Our first-ever season in the top flight. We managed to do really well, finishing 13th. We beat our rivals Villa 3-0 at home, in one of the best atmospheres I've ever seen down at St Andrews, and 2-0 at Villa Park.

We also signed World Cup winner Christophe Dugarry in the January window that year, who was one of the best players I've ever seen play for us.

Do you believe Steve Cotterill’s side will stay up?

Our squad has the capability to be a mid-table side, but we just didn't perform under Harry Redknapp at the start of the season. He had to go, and now I believe we will stay up comfortably.

Birmingham didn't sign anyone in the January window. Was that a surprise?

That was to be expected after the amount we spent in the summer under Redknapp.

I think the owners gambled thinking that Harry would get us promoted which failed miserably, but it would have been nice to see us add a few, even if they were loans.

However, we should have enough to see us through.

Who will your side’s danger men be on Saturday?

Sam Gallagher and Jaqcques Maghoma. Gallagher has been brilliant since we moved him into his proper position up top. He works his socks of and wins everything in the air. He's been scoring of late, too.

Maghoma has been on fire of late with assists and goals. He scored in wins over Leeds and Reading in the last match of 2017 and first of 2018.

Which Millwall players will Birmingham be wary of?

I watched Millwall's game with Cardiff on Sky Sports last week and was impressed with Steve Morison and Lee Gregory up top. They look like they are a right handful.

What’s your predicted starting XI and formation?

Cotterill has been playing 4-2-3-1 of late.


Jenkinson Roberts Dean Colin

Gardner Kieftenbeld

Boga Jota Maghoma


Finally, a score prediction?

Birmingham 2-1 Millwall

Graphic: @ShedCreative