Birmingham City can virtually assure themselves of avoiding relegation if they beat Fulham at home in the English Premier League on Sunday.Alex McLeish’s side sit three points above 18th-placed Blackpool and will face a Fulham side who sit 10th and will have little to play for at St Andrew’s.
Any victory for the hosts will mean that only their goal difference – which is better than the four bottom teams – could relegate them, and it would be the perfect way to cap a record-breaking season for Birmingham.
Fans of the club are still reliving the glory of their 2011 Carling Cup final victory, which came after extra time as they beat Arsenal 2-1 in February to claim their first trophy for 48 years.
Winning that trophy earned them a spot in European competition next season and if they can avoid relegation, the season will be viewed as a successful one for the St Andrew’s outfit.
But they will face a Fulham side who will be keen to respond after being on the receiving end of a 5-2 hiding at the hands of Liverpool on Monday.
In that match, Mark Hughes’ side conceded three goals in the first 20 minutes and they are sure to adopt a more defensive mindset to ensure a repeat does not occur on Sunday.
Birmingham’s 2-1 loss away at Newcastle United last Saturday extended their winless run to four, but in two of those matches they were on the road at Chelsea and Liverpool and they will appreciate returning to their home stadium where they have lost just twice in the league since January 2.
Damien Duff and Diomansy Kamara will miss the clash for the visitors through Achilles and back problems respectively while Birmingham still have the likes of Obafemi Martins (groin), James McFadden (knee) and Scott Dann (hamstring) on the sidelines.
The reverse fixture between the two sides saw Fulham come from behind to claim a 1-1 draw and it is hard to separate the two sides in the build-up to this clash, with Birmingham perhaps having more motivation to post a victory.