View From The Town End: Birmingham

So it's off to St Andrews we go (that's if anyone is still brave enough after those shocking reports yesterday........) Ahead of the game we spoke to Birmingham fan Gabriel Sutton.

How would you sum up Birmingham's season so far?

All in all, I'd say we're about where we're expected to be with the squad we've got. Home form has not been good, a big part of that has been that we cannot keep hold of the ball, and very rarely control games. The majority of our points have come from smash-and-grab jobs away from home, where we've defended deep and then nicked goals on the break. We've been quite reliant on the form of right winger Chris Burke, who is not as consistent as he used to be.

On the plus side, Lee Clark has pulled off some real coups in the loan market. Federico Macheda, Emyr Huws, and earlier in the season Dan Burn and Jesse Lingard, were talented players to bring in on a low budget. Clark is very good at developing young players, as shown by the progress of Ravel Morrison. That has seen him build some good connections with the top clubs which could be useful.

From afar it seems as if your ownership situation is going from bad to worse, is there any reason for Birmingham fans to be hopeful right now?

At least we're not Villa! It's a difficult situation. Our holding company, BIHL, look as though they are not going to sell the club unless for around £30 million, which no consortium is likely to pay. In the meantime, all the ticket money is lining our owners' pockets, and that has created a divide among fans as to whether we should buy season tickets next season. It's a downward spiral and arguably, the best thing we can hope for is administration. That would at least force our current owners to sell, which they are not going to do by choice any time soon.

Reading ground out a 2-0 win against Birmingham at the Madejski earlier this season, what did you make of Reading that day and in what you've seen of them since?

I thought it was quite an even game, the only thing separating us being a couple of free-kicks from Danny Guthrie. I liked the look of Alex McCarthy, who has potential to be back-up England keeper to Joe Hart in my opinion. Reading strike me as the kind of team which can hit four or five goals past someone one week, and then not turn up the next. You've got a number of fairly young, talented players who are about to hit their peak. Nigel Adkins is clearly good at working with younger players and I think the key will be to stand by him - too many clubs take the scattergun approach.

Who should Reading fans be worried about on Saturday?

It's hard to answer that directly because in Lee Clark, we have a manager who loves to tinker with his side. I would normally say Chris Burke, but he's been a bit out of form lately. Lee Novak is a real workhorse, and has grown in confidence in recent months. A lot of our fans are warming to Emyr Huws, who has come in from Man City.

Anyone that Birmingham fans aren't looking forward to facing?

For me it's Gareth McCleary. He's got pace, strength, good delivery, everything you'd want from a winger, he looked fantastic against QPR. We're struggling for left-backs at the moment so I can imagine he might have a good game. Adam Le Fondre can be a predator when he wants to be.

Score Prediction?

I'll up the ante and say 2-0 to the Blues. The performance at Hillsborough last week was one of the worst of the season, and I'd like to think Lee Clark will get a reaction from the players. Hopefully your lot will have an off day.

Any tips for Reading fans making the journey up to the midlands this weekend?

I know there's a pub called the Roost very near to the ground, you should be able to find it if you keep walking down Cattell Road. I'm not much of a pub man myself, so not sure where else to suggest that won't be packed. Have a good trip.

Finally who are you tipping to win promotion to the Premier League this season?

Leicester and Burnley are the obvious choices for the automatics. I'd have to say Wigan for the play-offs, the form they have been in since Uwe Rosler took over, they seem to be playing with a confidence that they can beat anyone. I don't think your lot will quite make it this time, maybe in a couple of years if you can keep the core of your squad together.

Thanks again to Gabriel and you can follow him on twitter @_thescore while for more pre-match build up why not listen to our latest podcast.

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