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The Preview: Blues v Brighton & Hove Albion

Posted: Fri 15 Aug 2014
Author: bcfc.com

Blues v Brighton & Hove Albion

Image by: Pete Stanley

A full match preview ahead of Blues' opening Sky Bet Championship home game of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Lee Clark on the first home league game of the season...
"I'm excited by it and I'm excited by the players we have. I was really buoyed by their performance on Tuesday night in terms of the positivity I asked for after Middlesbrough. That's good because when I'm asking for things from them, they seem to produce so I'm really happy with that."

Clark on forward thinking...
"I felt we were so negative at Middlesbrough for whatever reason, be it nerves or the players getting to know each other. When we worked on what we wanted to do for Tuesday, I wanted them to go out and be exciting and go and enjoy themselves. They did that."

Clark on his team selection..
"There's going to be some unhappy players, which is certainly not my objective because they are working extremely hard for us but I believe I've got a really good squad. Some players put a marker down on Tuesday night, where some hadn't really put a marker down on the Saturday so I've got some decisions to make."

Clark on the Seagulls..
"In terms of the philosophy of the club, they still play the same way (despite a recent managerial change). They've been one of the in-form teams in the Sky Bet Championship over the last couple of years, getting in the play-offs, so we fully understand that it's going to be an extremely tough game but we're hoping that we can put them under enough pressure to make them buckle. They've lost a few players that have been important for them over the last couple of years and we've got to try to take control of that situation and make it work in our favour. It will be tough as they are a good team."

Clark on his team's approach to this game..
"I think after Tuesday they're ready. I'm a manager who wants them to express themselves and if we go down, we go down fighting. If we go down, we go down by being productive, trying to make chances and scoring goals. I believe we've got lots of attacking presence now so we need to use that more."

Team news...
Blues expects to be without the services of defender Gavin Gunning for some time after he damaged his posterior crucial ligament during Tuesday night's Capital One Cup win against Cambridge United. On the subject of Gunning, Clark said: "Gavin's injury is a massive blow for us. He sees the specialist today (Friday) but, having spoken to the medical team, we think we're going to go down the route of surgery which will keep him about between four to six months. It's a huge blow because I brought him into the club as an important signing and a future captain so it's a tough one for us. We've obviously got a few who can play there - Jonathan Grounds, Paul Robinson, David Edgar, Grant Hall and Will Packwood, who has had a really good pre-season. We've had a tough call with knee injuries - injuries we can't prevent. Matt Green in training, Neal Eardley, Steven Carr and David Murphy so it's been tough but we've got to keep going and support Gavin." Elsewhere, striker Green is still a few weeks away from a return following a long lay-off with his own aforementioned cruciate injury. 

Ticket news…
This game is a Grade B fixture. Click here for full ticket details and prices.

Important admission information...
The way that supporters use turnstiles will be changing this season. In order to help alleviate queues and ensure that everyone gets into the stadium as quickly as possible, we will we will be giving fans greater freedom in choosing which turnstile to use to enter St. Andrew’s. Click here for full details.

Obscene chanting...
Birmingham City FC and the Ground regulations in force at every stadium specifically outlaws the use of foul or abusive language and racial, homophobic or discriminatory abuse, chanting or harassment.  The Club treats reports of obscene chanting and verbal abuse - that ‘crosses the line’ of acceptability - very seriously and adopts a zero tolerance policy.  In such instances the Club will undertake any action necessary in order to identify anyone who is involved and shall take appropriate action.  We want everyone to enjoy the game without experiencing any unnecessary distress and we will not condone any form of chant that may be perceived as offensive or discriminatory.

Match officials...
Referee Mark Brown will take charge of Saturday's game. This is the East Yorkshire-based official's third match of the season. In his two games so far he has produced just three yellow cards. The last Blues game he refereed was Blues' 3-0 away defeat at Burnley last September in the Sky Bet Championship. No players were booked on that occasion. Mr Brown will be assisted by Mathew Bounassisi and Robert Merchant.

Betting...
If you want to place a bet on the game, use Sky Bet and they will give a share of the revenue back to Blues. Plus sign-up now and get a free matched bet up to £30. Just click here. Looking to Saturday's game, a win for either Blues is priced at 21/10, the draw at 11/5 and a Brighton victory at 13/10.

Statzone...
- There have been just 25 league and cup meetings between the teams. Blues have won eight of those encounters, nine of them have been drawn and Brighton have won eight.
- Brighton won both Sky Bet Championship fixtures between the sides 1-0 last season.
- Blues last beat the seagulls at St. Andrew's during the 1996/97 season. Mike Newell scored both goals for Blues in a 2-0 League Cup win.
- Blues biggest victory against the Seagulls was when they beat them 3-0 the first time they met at St. Andrew's in the FA cup in February 1915.
- Brighton have reached the play-offs at the end of the last two seasons, but have failed to win promotion in either of them.
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