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Birmingham Preview
Birmingham Preview
Tuesday, 15th Jan 2013 04:32

It's probably the last thing Neil Warnock needs right now, Leeds head to Birmingham City for an FA Cup 3rd round replay and its likely they will face the man who scored FIVE times against us last season, including the four goals that brought an end to Simon Grayson's reign.

Blues boss Lee Clark can turn to 6'7" Serbian striker Nikola Zigic who was suspended from the initial tie 10 days ago. The YEP have earmarked his battle with Jason Pearce as one of the key elements to this clash, Zigic indeed is more power than pace which will suit Pearce and his fellow plodding central defenders. It is sure to be some physical encounter if the Serbian is involved tonight.

Whilst Neil Warnock is accusing agents of "unsettling" members of his squad, the most high profile being Luciano Becchio, Lee Clark is reportedly considering leaving out highly-rated keeper Jack Butland so he isn't cup-tied for any would be suitor who craves his signature during the remainder of the dreaded-window.

Following Saturday's shocker at Barnsley, the question has got to be bar Paddy Kenny who's place is not under threat? Kenny may even make way for Jamie Ashdown who is our recognised "cup tie" keeper! The FA's daft little rules deny Warnock the services of Michael Tonge and Ross Barkley as both were signed between the original tie and the replay, rule 789.33 paragraph 87b ii applies!

If it was not for the mouthwatering prospect of a home tie with Tottenham on Saturday week, I'd have long given up any interest in this tie and even though Birmingham is on my doorstep, the rare convenience of being able to "pay on the night" is unlikely to tempt me out into the cold! I suppose it depends on what kind of day I have at work today too!

Sorry folks, I'm going for a comfortable win for the hosts, 2-0. I do think there will be a more spirited effort from Warnock's team following the Oakwell debacle, lets face it, it would be something of an achievement for us to actually play any worse but I think the magic of the cup ends tonight in part of the less salubrious areas of the second city, which of course will leave us free to focus entirely on promotion!!!

Photo: Action Images

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