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View From The Town End: Birmingham City

Reading face Birmingham City at home tomorrow night. Gabriel Sutton from The Football Lab previews the match for us.

Hibernian and Birmingham City - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

How's Birmingham's season gone so far?

It's been a strong start. I had harboured doubts about the club's situation in the summer, whether we had been too cautious to shake the squad up. So far though we're fourth in the league with a solid defensive record, having just outplayed Norwich and Fulham. Complete a good September and I'll happily take my slice of humble pie.

Did you get what you needed in the transfer window?

Che Adams could be a key signing. In the second half of last season, we missed Demarai Gray's ability to carry the ball up the pitch and relieve pressure on the defence. We've now got pace with Adams coming in and Jacques Maghoma starting every game. Ryan Shotton has already formed a great partnership with Michael Morrison at the back, while Robert Tesche gives us some quality and composure in midfield.

Any good or bad memories of taking on Reading?

My first visit was a 2005/06 FA Cup tie. It was 1-1, I can remember a youthful Shane Long scoring for your lot, sadly we swapped divisions that season. I must remind you of our 2008/09 promotion clincher too! I watched on TV and when Kevin Phillips got our second I was expecting a comfortable last half hour - only for Marek Matějovský to get one back a minute later. Thankfully we held out!

Who should we be wary of on Tuesday night?

Maikel Kieftenbeld is playing well for us; he patrols the middle of the park with real tenacity. Clayton Donaldson is in good form at the moment too. He had been much-maligned last season but with a bit more pace and quality around him, he's a reborn player.

Any Reading player that's impressed you?

I'm a fan of Joey van den Berg. When you play the open, possession system that Jaap Stam favours, it's important to have a holding midfielder that will drop in between the centre-backs. Van den Berg did that really well against Ipswich, allowing players like Liam Moore to move forward. Roy Beerens has a bit of pace about him too - if you can get him involved consistently you could have a quality player on your hands.

Finally, give us a score prediction?

I'll be optimistic. We pressed quite well against Fulham and if we can do a similar thing on Tuesday, I'm hopeful we'll catch you trying to play out. I'll go 1-0 Blues, Che Adams with our goal. Good luck to Reading.

Many thanks to Gabriel, who writes an excellent blog called The Football Lab. You can follow him on Twitter @_FootballLab.