Birmingham v Norwich - Saturday 15:00
After two years banging his head against a glass ceiling, Gary Rowett is suddenly coming under fire at St Andrew’s. Birmingham are stagnating, but it looks as though they are going backwards. It just goes to show how nobody is immune from the ills of the modern game. Rowett needs a result, and this might just be one of those occasions when his players dig deep to get him one.
With Norwich struggling to find the net - in the Championship at least - odds of 11/4 about the home win are more than acceptable. Last season, Birmingham bagged the opening goal at home against eight of the nine teams who ultimately finished above them, just as they did in last weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Wolves. On five of those occasions, they were ahead at the break and the 15/4 available on Birmingham to win the first half also appeals.
The Canaries were 6-1 winners against Coventry on EFL Cup duty in midweek but, prior to that, the focus had been squarely on Alex Neil’s fruitless attempts to land a quality striker. Having missed out on Steven Fletcher and Ross McCormack, Norwich made heavy going of a five-point haul from games against Sheffield Wednesday, Bristol City and Ipswich.
If Birmingham do grab an early goal, it could be a long afternoon for Neil, anticipating the following day’s headlines and further conjecture about his prowess in the transfer market. The home side, undoubtedly, would be fighting tooth and nail to avoid falling into the same traps that unhinged them in the Midlands derby last time out.