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Preview: Blues v Aston Villa

I have been here long enough to know exactly what this game means to our fans; our motivation is to get the win for them.

Garry Monk.

Our full match preview ahead of Sunday's Sky Bet Championship fixture against Aston Villa at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (12 noon kick-off).

Garry Monk on how special it would be to get a win against Villa on Sunday after such a long period of trying...

"It would be something special, for ourselves. I have been here long enough to know exactly what this game means to our fans. We have got a lot of motivations; the biggest motivation is for our fans to wake up on Monday morning with a smile on their faces to be proud of what we have done on Sunday. We have got a lot to do. We understand we are up against a good opponent. We are as motivated as ever to try and get those three points.”

Garry Monk asked if the defeat against Aston Villa earlier in the season acts as extra motivation...

"Of course it does, you don’t want to lose any game, but you understand how much it means to the fans, it probably cuts that little bit deeper. We were fantastic in the first-half, apart from the last five minutes which cost us. That motivation and understanding of that game adds to our experience. We are close in the league and they were beaten finalists (in the play-offs) last year and that just shows how far we have come."

Garry Monk on the two sides being so close together in the league...

"It makes it more exciting going into a derby game so close in the league, and with us needing to respond to the last game after a set back and us knowing what it means to our fans. I know 100 per cent these players will give everything and show all their strengths against a very good opponents - but that’s what we have been doing all season anyway."

Garry Monk on the threat that Aston Villa pose offensively...

"They have the best quality of players in the league without a doubt. We are going to have to be very good defensively, but we have our own strengths as well. We are at St. Andrew’s, let’s not forget that, and we have to use that to our advantage. I am more than confident with these players you will see a committed display and one hopefully with the quality we have."

Aston Villa Manager Dean Smith's comments ahead of the game...

"When we played them (Blues) earlier in the season we didn't pass it as well as we should and we waited until Birmingham had got a lead, albeit should have been a free-kick on the goalkeeper if I remember rightly. Then we got that first goal that sparked us into action, and we were comfortable winners after that. We're looking forward to it. The result last weekend gives us a lot of belief and confidence going into it. We're away from home, but we don't fear anyone, despite having full respect for them. It will be interesting to see, because Birmingham have played a diamond in the last few games at home and eventually gone back to 4-4-2, which has been their more natural formation. We haven't been in the best of form results-wise over the last month. But the performances have been okay in the last two or three games. It makes for a really interesting encounter. The last time we played them they were above and they're above us now. If we win, we go above them, so we've got that driving us on. I played with Garry Monk and know him well. He's done a good job there this season, but it's just another game."

Blues team news...

Full-back Maxime Colin will miss the game after sustaining a hamstring injury during last weekend's defeat at Hull City. The French defender is likely to be out until after the international break at the end of the month. Marc Roberts (calf) and Charlie Lakin (thigh) have returned to full training but will need further playing time before being considered. Midfielder Gary Gardner is not allowed to play against his parent club on Sunday.

Aston Villa team news...

Aston Villa will be without Tommy Elphick, James Chester and Axel Tuanzebe, Henri Lansbury and Alan Hutton. John McGinn is available again this weekend after serving a two-game suspension.

Last five meetings between Blues and Aston Villa...

Championship 25 Nov 2018 Aston Villa 4 Blues 2
Championship 11 Feb 2018 Aston Villa 2 Blues 0
Championship 29 Oct 2017 Blues 0 Aston Villa 0
Championship 23 Apr 2017 Aston Villa 1 Blues 0
Championship 30 Oct 2016 Blues 1 Aston Villa 1

Form guide. Last five Championship fixtures....

Blues: WLDWL
Aston Villa: DLLDW

Total meetings...

Blues wins: 38
Aston Villa wins: 56
Draws: 33

Ticket news...

This match is a sell-out. No further tickets are available.

BluesTV…

BluesTV will be broadcasting live from the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium. UK & EIRE customers will be able to listen to live commentary only. Commentary will be provided by Jonathan Bell and former Blues defender Paul Robinson. International subscribers in certain countries can watch the match live on BluesTV. Coverage of the match will begin at approximately 11.30am with Dale Moon, who will be joined by ex-Blues players Gary McSheffrey and Dele Adebola. Click here to sign up.

Important information for supporters...

The Club urges all supporters to refrain from anti-social behaviour and conduct themselves in the correct manner at all our games, inside and outside the ground. The overwhelming majority of our support is well behaved, law-abiding and the passionate backing the team receives is greatly appreciated. However, as a Club we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of coins and other missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Birmingham City Football Club will continue to work closely with the police, football authorities and ground authorities to stamp out all types spectator misconduct. Supporters are also reminded that they should not bring bottled drinks or substances to the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium. In accordance with ground regulations, bottles and containers are among prohibited items. Unless an individual has a condition that requires bottled medication, they should not be brought into the ground and the Club reserves the right to confiscate bottles and containers. All bottled drinks available inside St. Andrew's are to be decanted into paper cups, until further notice. Please be aware that consequently queues at the kiosks will increase. This decision has not been taken lightly. The Club takes very seriously its responsibility to try to create a welcoming and safe environment and any kind of anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. We thank you for your understanding and the Club appreciates the fantastic backing you have given the players all season.

Match officials…

Tim Robinson will take charge of the game. So far this season, the West Sussex -based official has refereed 27 games where he has produced a total of 97 yellow cards and seven reds. The last Blues game he refereed was our Championship away game at Norwich City in January 2019. Blues lost that game 3-1 and four Blues players were cautioned - Kristian Pedersen, Michael Morrison, Maikel Kieftenbeld and Craig Gardner. No Canaries players were booked. During his senior career to date, he has refereed 12 Blues games - of which Blues have won five of them, drawn three and lost four. The last Villa game he took charge of was their Championship away game at Bristol City in September 2018. Four players were booked in that game; including Alan Hutton and Jonathan Kodjia for the visitors. Of the eight Villa games he has taken charge of, they have won just one, lost five and drawn two. Mr Robinson will be assisted on Sunday by Ian Cooper and Jonathon Hunt with Gavin Ward acting as the fourth official.

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