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Preview: Blues v MK Dons

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Gary Rowett on seeking a Blues reaction…
“I think the players will be frustrated themselves with the performance," said Rowett, who feels Blues confidence has not been dented. I don't mind losing a game (if we have a go). I will put my hands up and say we weren't good enough.‎ I will never try and gloss over it too much. And I think the players are the same. They will see that it's not that we didn't work hard enough, it's that we were not aggressive enough, we didn't have enough real desire.Sometimes players don't mean to do that. Sometimes they will turn up and as a group they won't feel as energetic as before. But there is no excuse for me. It won't be down to (a lack of confidence on Monday), it will be down to having a little bit more drive, a bit more belief in what we are doing. When we do it well - against Middlesbrough, against Preston - there's not many teams in this division who are that much better than us. They might have some individuals in there who have got a bit more magic, at times. But as a team unit we are not far away. But we have got to be at it and we have to make sure we are at it against MK Dons. To be fair to them they move the ball around well and if we defend with that sort of tepidness we did on Boxing Day then they will create chances and cause us problems. So it is important we have a reaction from the players, certainly." 

Gary Rowett on his side’s ability to recover from setbacks…
“They do because they are an honest bunch. You are always trying to define your bunch and I don't want to define them being all effort and low on quality because we're not that. We usually have a response in terms of the aggression, in terms of the desire to win the game. We (the management team) have said that all along: if you give me that, work hard enough and something goes against us, I will take my hat off to it. But when we don't try hard enough and when we are not aggressive enough, I can't have that, it's not a hallmark of any of my teams. I find that hard to take. I am sure we will see a response and certainly the 1,600 travelling fans, providing they are all at the home game, deserve a response after witnessing that performance on Boxing Day."

Gary Rowett on what he has seen from his squad so far this season…
"I’ve told the players 'listen, we've played everyone once now, tell me a team who are miles better than us?'. I don't think there's been one. There's not been a team who is much, much better. We drew with Middlesbrough away from home. Drew with Derby, Burnley. We have played everyone now and we've not been far away. But we have to be at our very best to live with some of those teams. We knew this was going to be a tough month and when you have the likes of your top-scorer out of the team it makes it doubly hard. The outcome on Boxing Day was not down to that, it was because we didn't show enough quality or defend as resolutely as we have done before. We have to be 100 per cent at it every game to stay where we are (challenging for the top six) in the league. I didn't think we were at Sheffield. We have got to make sure we are against MK Dons. It's us up to us to do something about it. I am sure the players can't be happy with that performance either and that type of quality we showed. When we have performed this season, we have been tough to play against and we have had a little bit of quality on the counter. We didn't really have either of those on Boxing Day."

MK Dons boss Karl Robinson’s thoughts after their 2-1 win over Cardiff City…
“There’s nothing better than winning a game in the last minute. It can really galvanise the group and give you a platform to build on - hopefully now we can move on from here. We know we were totally outplayed by Cardiff in the first half but in the second we came out on the front foot and dominated the game. They scored against the run of play and the pleasing thing for me is that the players picked themselves up and won it. We have to steal inches where we can. We’ll prepare properly and give ourselves every opportunity to go to Birmingham and get a result.”

Blues team news...
Clayton Donaldson and Paul Robinson are available to return to the starting eleven after making the substitutes bench on Boxing Day (Donaldson coming on), whilst David Cotterill is nursing a slight hamstring injury picked up last week. Stephen Gleeson and Shane Lowry will be assessed after illness, full-back Neal Eardley (groin) and midfielder Koby Arthur (knee) are both expected to miss at least the next two games.

Ticket news...
For ticket prices and purchasing details, click here.

Form guide: Last five Championship games...
Blues: LDDWL
MK Dons: LLWLW

Line-ups last game...
Blues (v Sheffield Wednesday): Kuszczak, Caddis, Morrison, Spector, Grounds, Davis, Kieftenbeld, Maghoma, Toral (Shinnie 77), Gray (Solomon-Otabor 71), Vaughan (Donaldson 72) Subs not used: Legzdins, Robinson, Brock-Madsen, Halford
MK Dons (v Cardiff): MK Dons: Martin, Spence, Kay, McFadzean, Lewington, Potter, Carruthers, Hall (Baker 69), Reeves (Bowditch 90+3), Murphy, Murphy, Maynard (Gallagher 89). Subs not used: Cropper, Hodson, Powell, Church.

Head-to-head...
The only previous league meeting between the two came in August at stadiummk, where goals from Stephen Gleeson and Jacques Maghoma earned Blues a 2-0 win.
The only time MK Dons have visited St Andrew's was in a League Cup clash in September 2010, where Blues triumphed 3-1 on their way to winning the trophy that season.

Match officials...
Referee Andy Davies will take charge at St. Andrew’s. So far this season the Hampshire-based official has taken charge of 13 games, where he has produced a total of 46 yellow cards and two reds. The last Blues game he refereed was our 2-1 Capital One Cup first round victory over Bristol Rovers at Memorial Stadium on 11 August 2015, where David Davis and Lee Novak both received bookings. Mr Davies will be assisted by Richard Bartlett and Kevin Morris. 

Safety message...
Supporters are asked to allow additional time to enter St. Andrew's.
Whilst there is no specific threat, the safety of supporters is paramount to the Club.
Searches will be in operation.
We respectfully ask for your co-operation and understanding.

Betting...
If you want to place a bet on the game, use Sky Bet, the official sponsors of the Football League. A win for Blues is priced at 11/10, the draw at 23/10 and a Dons victory at 5/2.

Other Sky Bet Championship games this week...
Bolton v Blackburn - 12:45   
Burnley v Bristol City - 15:00   
Charlton v Wolves - 15:00   
Preston v Hull - 15:00   
QPR v Huddersfield - 15:00   
Reading v Brentford - 15:00   
Middlesbrough v Sheff Wed - 17:15   

Tuesday 29th December 2015

Brighton v Ipswich - 19:45   
Cardiff v Nottm Forest - 19:45   
Fulham v Rotherham - 19:45   
Leeds v Derby - 19.45

Pyrotechnics...
Birmingham City Football Club would once more like to remind supporters about a zero tolerance policy with regard to the use and carrying of pyrotechnics. The lighting and throwing of pyrotechnics, including smoke bombs and flares, at football stadia is very dangerous and a serious offence. Any supporter identified to have committed such an act will be banned by the Club and also subject to the possibility of criminal prosecution. Birmingham City Football Club will continue to work closely with the police, football authorities and ground authorities to stamp out this, and other types, of spectator misconduct. We would also like to remind supporters that if there are incidents of this nature in the future the Football Association have the power to impose a serious financial penalty on the Club and order matches to be played behind closed doors. The Club urges all supporters to assist us in this matter and help eradicate such an unlawful practice. 





 






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