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Monday, September 11, 2006

QPR Play Birmingham - Not Beaten them since 1985

Sporting Life


Birmingham manager Steve Bruce is expected to be without his two first-choice full-backs when they travel to QPR.
Right-back Stephen Kelly has been laid low by a calf problem and Mat Sadler by a groin injury, meaning Sebastian Larsson and Damien Johnson are once more expected to deputise.
But Bruce has no fresh injury or suspension concerns, with Matthew Upson the only long-term absentee...
QPR will be aiming to beat the Blues for the first time in almost 21 years.
The Hoops have not overcome the midlands club since defeating them 3-1 in the old Division One on September 28, 1985 - and they have won only once in the Championship since February 25.
Midfielders Martin Rowlands (calf) and Gareth Ainsworth (hamstring) are unlikely to recover in time for the clash, so manager Gary Waddock could field an unchanged side.
That would mean Marc Bircham earning his first league start of the season following his impressive display in the 1-1 draw at Plymouth on Saturday.
But long-term injury victims Simon Royce (groin) and Dominic Shimmin (hamstring) are virtually certain to miss out.
Sporting Life

Birmingham Statistics - Sporting Lifef

QPR Official Site - Profiling Birmingham

Installed as the bookies' favourites before a ball had even been kicked, Birmingham City have made a superb start to life in the Championship.

The high-profile double exit of Emile Heskey and Jermaine Pennant saw in excess of £12million burning a hole in gaffer Steve Bruce's pocket during the close season.

But to be fair to the former Manchester United defender, he's spent wisely this summer, with the notable additions of Bruno N'Gotty, Radhi Jaidi, Cameron Jerome, Gary McSheffrey and Arsenal loanees Sebastian Larsson and Nicklas Bendtner, adding to an already healthy squad at St Andrews.

Arsenal loan duo Bendtner and Larsson have probably made the biggest impact since the start of the season, with the pair scoring priceless goals in Birmingham's impressive start to the campaign.

Indeed it was Bendtner who bagged the all-important last gasp winner in Blues' opening day victory against Colchester United.

Reduced to ten men after the dismissal of new-boy Jerome, Birmingham required a hero and Bendter duly obliged, coming off the bench to kick-start the Blues campaign with a 79th minute winner.

Mikael Forssell's spot-kick at the Stadium of Light made it two wins on the bounce and although the Blues were held to a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium - home of Stoke City - a few days later, they were soon back in the groove, clinching a 2-1 win against another promotion hopeful in the shape of Peter Taylor's Crystal Palace.

The only blip so far in Birmingham's season arrived at Ninian Park on their last away day.

Goals from Joe Ledley and Paul Parry sealed the Blues' fate that day, yet despite that setback, victory against Hull City on Saturday afternoon got them back on track and the early signs after positive, as Bruce's men seek an instant return to the top tier of English football after last season's relegation.

Top scorer: Nicklas Bendtner 3

Nicklas Bendtner has made an immediate
impact at St Andrews

Last league game:
Birmingham City 2, Hull City 1.
Football League Championship.
September 9th 2006.
Birmingham City: Maik Taylor, Johnson, N'Gotty, Jaidi, Gray, Larsson, Dunn (Danns 68), Nafti (Kilkenny 81), McSheffrey, Campbell, Bendtner.
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Forssell, Martin Taylor.

Head to head:
QPR wins: 9
Birmingham wins: 18
Draws: 13

Last meeting:
Birmingham City 0, QPR 0.
Football League Championship.
December 23rd 2000....

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