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Preview: Blues v Norwich City

Tuesday’s clash is the 72nd meeting between the pair.

BCFC

Blues welcome Norwich City to St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday night.

The 7pm kick-off is the first of two home matches in the final week of February and Blues are looking to build on Saturday’s victory at Sheffield Wednesday.

Scott Hogan’s second-half strike proved the difference at Hillsborough and Aitor Karanka will be eager for his side to use the win - which lifted Blues out of the relegation zone - as a launchpad for the rest of the season.

Norwich also picked up three points last weekend as they overcame Rotherham United by a single goal in Norfolk for their third successive win.

It was by the same 1-0 scoreline that Blues were edged out at Carrow Road back in October and returning the favour back in B9 would be particularly sweet considering both a red card and goal were inflicted upon the visitors in the space of a minute.

Tuesday’s clash is the 72nd meeting between the pair and Blues have only lost twice at home in the fixture this millennium with their last win coming in 2016.

THE OPPOSITION: 

Back in the Championship after a single season in the Premier League, Norwich, as it stands, seem set to make an instant return to the top-flight as they hold a seven-point lead at the table’s summit. Their decision to stick with Daniel Farke following relegation has been vindicated and a number of players who served them so well in their last second-tier campaign have come to the fore again.

The Canaries have lost just five times in the league with two of those setbacks coming against the other teams with whom they were demoted alongside in July. Such form has them ranked as the division’s third meanest defence, recording a clean sheet in over a third of their matches.

Their backline includes the highly-rated Max Aarons, an ever-present this term, along with the experience of Grant Hanley who has twice previously won the Championship with Newcastle United and more recently the Canaries.

And there is also quality in youth with 20-year-old Ollie Skipp on loan from Tottenham Hotspur featuring in all 31 league outings. He ably supports Emi Buendia in a forward-thinking team - that has only had an inferior share of possession once this league campaign - with the Argentinian recording nine goals and nine assists. 15-goal Teemu Pukki continues to lead the line, boasting a shot accuracy of 61 per cent.

LAST TIME OUT: 

Blues picked up a big three points last Saturday as they overcame Sheffield Wednesday. Fighting to climb out of the bottom three, Blues were handed a numerical advantage when Liam Shaw was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Maxime Colin early in the second-half. Already beginning to control events in South Yorkshire, Karanka’s side did not hesitate to make the most of this additional boost and Scott Hogan struck the winner from a Jeremie Bela delivery with 63 minutes played.

Norwich extended their lead at the top of the Championship with success over Rotherham. Pukki hit what proved to be the only goal in the 17th minute when he broke through the Millers backline before beating the ‘keeper between his legs. That was the Finnish international’s fourth goal in three games and the seventh time this season that he and Buendia have combined to such effect.

WE MEET AGAIN:  

Blues 2, Norwich City 2, 04 August 2018

Blues had to settle for a point when the Canaries last visited on the opening weekend of the 2018/19 season.

After a first-half that brought chances but no goal, Jacques Maghoma broke the deadlock just before the hour mark as he fired in off the underside of the crossbar.

And it appeared that would be enough until a frantic ending which saw three goals from the 83rd minute onwards. First Onel Hernandez equalised with a low effort before Viv Solomon-Otabor’s cool finish had seemingly won it for Blues in the penultimate minute of regulation time.

However, Hernandez had other ideas and the Cuban-born winger equalised deep into added time to ensure the points were shared.

BLUES TEAM NEWS: 

Zach Jeacock (ankle) and Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh) are out through injury. Sam Cosgrove is a doubt (ankle). 

HEAD-TO-HEAD: 

Blues wins: 23

Draws: 23

Norwich City wins: 25

LAST FIVE MEETINGS: 

Championship 20 Oct 2020 – Norwich City 1 Blues 0

Championship 18 Jan 2019 – Norwich City 3 Blues 1

Championship 04 Aug 2018 – Blues 2 Norwich City 2

Championship 26 Dec 2017– Blues 0 Norwich City 2

Championship 09 Sep 2017 – Norwich City 1 Blues 0

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MATCH OFFICIALS: 

Referee: Oliver Langford

Assistant Referees: Robert Merchant and James Wilson

Fourth Official: John Brooks

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