Blues will be without Scott Dann who has not recovered from his injury and Stephen Carr who will serve a one-match ban for letting the Villa fans know exactly what he thought of them. I expect Parnaby to come in for Carr in the only change to last week.
Burnley will definitely be without Clarke Carlisle, Chris McCann and Kevin McDonald but as they are already relegated Brian Laws may wish to give some youngsters a run out.
Our last meeting was in October at Turf Moor where a last minute Seb Larsson free kick added some respectability to what in truth was a comfortable victory for Burnley. Both of last season’s games ended 1-1 and you have to go back to November 2006 for a Birmingham victory in this fixture and even further back for one at St Andrews.
Having spent a lot of the season at the top of the form league Blues now reside at the bottom having not won since early March. Burnley’s form is equally poor with the win over Hull being the only points gained over the same period. Blues are still unbeaten at home since September though.
Well what to make of this one? Obviously Sky Sports thought this would be a crucial game in the relegation battle when they selected it for live coverage but since then Burnley have been relegated and the pressure has lifted. This is still an important game for Blues though as a win would almost ensure a top ten finish taking into account the remaining fixtures of the chasing pack. We wouldn’t want to end a great season by dropping into the bottom half on the last day. There’s also still the possibility of a record Premiership points haul which currently stands at fifty gained in the 2003-04 season. Unfortunately these things don’t seem to have got through to the players who barring last week’s spirited display have been looking very tired recently.
How this game goes depends a lot on how Burnley react to their relegation. Now the pressure has lifted they may be able to play with a freedom and a ‘What the hell’ attitude that would make them a dangerous opponent. They are after all still a very good footballing side. Of course they may also turn up with a ‘What’s the point’ attitude which won’t make for a very good game. Hopefully McLeish will just tell his team to go out and have fun and ditch the defensive mentality of recent weeks. Perhaps they can channel the anger from the derby game into beating another team in claret and blue. I just hope it’s a good game to mark our last home match of the season. I also hope that Chucho gets a chance as well because if we line up 4-5-1 again I think I will cry. If we are positive and score early there could be a lot of goals in this one.
Finally I end wth a plea. I know that some children are planning a pitch invasion after the game but please let’s allow the players to do their post match lap of appreciation. The last two have been ruined and I really want to be able to show my appreciaiton for the players who have done so well this year especially as some will not be there next year. I don’t want to be watching a bunch of idiots running around instead. Let’s just enjoy the game.
It’s difficult to make a prediction for this one so I’ll just go with 2-1.