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Return of the Zig? Leeds Preview
Birmingham City face Leeds United tonight in a FA Cup Third Round Replay with the prize being a televised match at home against Tottenham Hotspur in the next round. Can Neil Warnock’s men overcome their hoodoo against the Blues or will Lee Clark’s men be triumphant?
Leeds come into this game having lost to bottom club Barnsley at the weekend at Oakwell and in a run of form that hasn’t seen them win away since they visited Huddersfield at the start of December.
Recent loan signings Michael Tonge and Ross Barkley are ineligible for this game having not been at Leeds for the first game whilst Adam Drury and Danny Pugh are still returning from illness. Jamie Ashdown is likely to replace Paddy Kenny in goal and Aidy White and Paul Green could be recalled to the midfield.
Blues will give a late fitness test to Callum Reilly as the young midfielder had been ill prior to the Huddersfield game and still hasn’t fully recovered. Jonathan Spector may miss the game with a knock and could join Hayden Mullins, Papa Bouba Diop, Darren Ambrose, Keith Fahey, Stephen Carr, David Murphy and Will Packwood on the sidelines.
Blues could give a recall to Nikola Zigic who scored five times against Leeds United last season with strikers Marlon King and Peter Lovenkrands also fit to play. Robert Hall has again been refused permission to play by West Ham which means there may be a spot on the bench for one of the youngsters who have been in and around the squad. Colin Doyle is expected to replace Jack Butland in goal with the England keeper potentially missing the squad altogether.
I know that there are a multitude of people out there who see this fixture as a hindrance to Blues’ league season but I don’t personally. I’ve come to believe that winning is a mentality and a habit – and it’s a habit Blues need to get into. I think this could be a good game to go back to two strikers up front, with potentially Morrison replacing Reilly in the middle and Redmond maybe replacing Burke (who looks to be heading out of the exit door) on the right. The Leeds fans don’t seem too optimistic about this one so it could be a good game to start a winning run from.