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View From The Town End: Birmingham City (A)

What can Reading expect when they travel to St Andrew’s on Saturday? We spoke to a Birmingham fan to find out.

Birmingham City v AFC Bournemouth - Carabao Cup Second Round Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images

Many thanks to Blues supporter Gabriel Sutton for taking the time to answer our questions. He runs The Football Lab and can also be found on Twitter at @_FootbalLab.

How would you sum up Birmingham's start to the season?

Performance wise it's been disappointing. We weren't good enough in the final third against Ipswich or Bolton. We miraculously beat Bristol City, having been very fortunate not to be three or four down by half-time in that match. I've spoken to neutrals who saw us on TV at the Pirelli and weren't impressed - it's hard to begrudge Burton the victory - but I would argue that we created more in that match than we have in any of our league games so far. That says something in itself.

Are the fans still happy with Harry Redknapp?

Characteristically, he didn't sugar-coat his words after the Burton game, saying that a lot of our current players aren't good enough to play for the club. Most see those blunt comments as refreshing, but I can't help but wonder if Gary Rowett were here, whether he'd be more diplomatic and keep the current players motivated.

Any big areas that need looking at before deadline day?

With his comments, Redknapp has seemingly put all his eggs in the transfer window basket, banking on getting a lot of new players as he was promised when he signed on permanently. The main areas to address are in midfield, wide and centrally. We've been linked with Torino's Afriyie Acquah, Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing and Oxford's Marvin Johnson, either of whom could give us a bit of quality.

Any good or bad memories of games against Reading?

I've mentioned our 08/09 promotion at the Madejski before on here, so instead I'll go for the 6-1 in 14/15. On the balance of play we possibly weren't five goals better than you, but your lot couldn't get your shooting right and we were ruthless in both boxes. We scored every time we came forward with Demarai Gray getting a hat-trick and Andrew Shinnie continuing his resurgence under Rowett. I felt a bit sorry for Nigel Adkins, who I recall was subsequently sacked.

Who should we be particularly worried about on Saturday?

We're light on attacking options right now with Clayton Donaldson, Isaac Vassell and Che Adams ruled out for Saturday. That's a blow for us because I was hoping the latter two could do a job of pressing your back-line and getting in behind - a bit like Lucas Piazon did for Fulham's goal. If David Cotterill starts, he'll be a threat with his pin-point crosses and set piece deliveries - which target man Lukas Jutkiewicz could make the most of.

Anyone from Reading that you've been impressed with?

Liam Kelly looks a good passer of a ball - he ran the show when you came to St Andrew’s in January and seems to have kicked on. I've been impressed with a couple of the goals he scored in the first week - if he returns from injury for Saturday I'd imagine that will help your chances.

Score prediction?

I'll go with a 1-1 draw.