The Garry Monk derby comes to St. Andrew's.
The Championship returns on Friday with Birmingham City entertaining Swansea City. Blues boss Garry Monk welcomes his former side to St. Andrew’s in a bid to secure his first win of the season.
Graham Potter’s Swansea have won their opening two games of the season, and will go into this match in a defiant mood. Birmingham’s one point in two matches has been seen as an underwhelming but unsurprising start.
Potter has taken to Championship management well. His arrival from Östersund – after guiding them from the fourth tier of Swedish football to the top – was seen as a risk, but his side have looked good thus far.
I can see Birmingham struggling. They threw away a 2-1 lead against Norwich in the 91st minute, followed by a turgid 1-0 defeat at Middlesbrough. Though they will be a better side than the Harry Redknapp/Steve Cotterill shambles last season, and the even worse Gianfranco Zola shambles the season before that, I’m not expecting them to lay a glove on Swansea.
Their goalkeeping situation is worrying as well. Last season’s first and second choice goalkeepers: David Stockdale and Tomasz Kuszczak, have been frozen out by Monk, leaving rookie Connal Trueman – with two Football League appearances to his name – as Birmingham’s starting ‘keeper. Their only other option is Lee Camp, who had a woeful season at Sunderland last year, contributing to their eventual relegation.
Birmingham will try and frustrate Swansea, but I can’t see them getting anything from this one. Swansea to win and maintain their 100% start is my predicted result.
Birmingham City look short of goals. Their pitiful 38 league goals last season – the joint lowest – was a major concern, particularly with their partial transfer embargo they’re facing this transfer window.
Che Adams’ record is modest at best, while Lukas Jutkiewicz is a header merchant who has eight goals in 55 league games. The arrival of Omar Bogle on loan is cause for optimism, but he has yet to prove he belongs in The Championship.
You’ll get great odds for Swansea to keep a clean sheet against a blunt Birmingham side.
A lot has been made of Oli McBurnie. The Swansea striker had a brilliant six-month loan spell at Barnsley last season, scoring nine times in 17 Championship matches and winning their Player of the Season.
This season he’s already opened his account for The Swans, scoring in their impressive 2-1 win away at Sheffield United. The Scottish international has a big future ahead of him, and will be keen to add to his tally at St. Andrew’s as Swansea’s first choice striker.
McBurnie to score at any time could be a nice final bet for you.