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View From The Town End: Birmingham City

It's not just deadline day business to be taken care of. Will Brum help sour the day for Jaap Stam?

Birmingham City V Nottingham Forest- Sky Bet Championship

We get the lowdown on Birmingham City from The Football Lab's Gabriel, who you can follow on Twitter @_FootbalLab

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

12th is about right for the performances we've been putting in. We were 7th in the table when Gary Rowett left, but at that point we had only scored 10 goals from open play. Results were largely down to good defending from our centre-backs, Michael Morrison and Ryan Shotton, and goalkeeping from Tomasz Kuszczak. I didn't ever think we would be good enough to make the play-offs, nor do I think we are as bad as the results suggest now. Recently, we've played well in at least half an hour of every match we've played, or 90 minutes in the case of Forest at home and are creating chances, we just need to be more ruthless in front of goal. I don't think our performance levels have dropped.

The Gianfranco Zola experiment hasn't got off to the best of starts, are fans still behind him?

Personally, yes absolutely, but that isn't a widely held view. Some fans feel Rowett had been harshly treated - a viewpoint I argue against here - and they therefore see Zola as a step-father figure who has taken a role that is not truly his. We just need a decent run to relax everybody and buy Zola some time to figure out his best team and allow the new signings to settle. We've made some good additions in January and Craig Gardner, a Bluenose who was loved in his first spell here, I feel can play a political role as well as a footballing one.

How are things behind the scenes?

Not long ago, we were relying on short-term deals for veterans and unproven youngsters to keep us in the division and everyone rightly blamed the board. Now, we're handing out three year contracts for top six Championship calibre players. For that, I feel it's only fair that Panos Pavlakis and Trillion Trophy Asia are cut some slack and given the chance to run the club how they see fit.

Which players should Reading be wary of on Tuesday night?

Midfielder David Davis has been our best player this season. He's played wider than previously which has taken shackles off him, allows him to chase the ball more and put strong tackles in, without leaving us open through the middle. Lukas Jutkiewicz has scored five goals in his last nine appearances - he certainly likes his headers.

Any Reading player that's caught your eye?

When I saw you against QPR, Yann Kermorgant got next to no service, yet threatened goal with possibly the only two crosses that got played into him. He has both muscle and fight in him, but perhaps it also says something about his technical ability that possession coaches like Jaap Stam and Eddie Howe have played him regularly in the Championship. I like Garath McCleary too, because he'll take players on and get into dangerous areas - that flick for John Swift against Cardiff was excellent.

Score prediction?

I feel we're due a change of luck so I'll stick my neck out and go 2-1 Blues. Kermorgant for your lot, Jukey and Karim Frei for us.

Finally, any tips for those fans making the trip?

If you fancy a pre-match read you can get a copy of our fanzine, Made in Brum, outside the Blue gates just to the right of the away fans entrance. Better value than the programme for me.