Lee Bowyer's appointment last month has breathed fresh life into a Birmingham City side that appeared to be sliding towards the Sky Bet Championship trap door under former boss Aitor Karanka.
A 3-0 defeat at home to Bristol City on 13 March spelled the end of Karanka's tenure at St Andrew's. Under the former Boro boss, Blues had picked up just 13 points from their previous 19 games and sat three points above the drop zone. Three games into his time in charge, Bowyer is almost halfway to the points tally from Karanka's previous 19 following home wins over Reading and Swansea City and has doubled their cushion to the bottom three.
Blues have been pretty good travellers this season, despite winning only one of their last seven on the road. They've taken 23 points from their 19 away games, five more points than they've earned at St Andrew's. They've scored just 14 away goals this campaign, the fourth-fewest in the division, but their 18 conceded is bettered only by Watford (15).
Bowyer has gone back to basics during his time in charge, reverting principally to a 4-4-2 with Lukas Jutkiewicz partnership Scott Hogan (pictured above) up top. Jutkiewicz netted his 50th Blues goal in the win over Reading in Bowyer's first game in charge while Hogan grabbed the 90th minute winner at home to Swansea City on Good Friday.
Lee Bowyer made more than 600 appearances in English football and is now making his name on the touchline. Born in Canning Town, London, he joined Charlton as a schoolboy. He went on to play for Leeds United, West Ham and Newcastle. He was also capped by England in 2002 under Sven Goran Eriksson, playing against Portugal in his only appearance.
At his peak, he played a key role in Leeds' Champions League campaign in 2001, scoring goals against AC Milan, Barcelona and Anderlecht. At his worst, he was involved in a fight with Magpies teammate Kieron Dyer on the pitch against Aston Villa in 2005.
Spells at Birmingham City led to a final bow at Ipswich Town, where he retired in 2012. Three years later, Bowyer was back coaching at Watford before joining the youth setup at Charlton. In 2017, he was named Assistant Manager under Karl Robinson, eventually going on to take the top job in March 2018. After almost exactly three-years in charge, Bowyer left The Valley to head to St Andrew's last month.
Henrik Dalsgaard is being assessed game-by-game for a knee injury while Rico Henry (hamstring), Josh Dasilva (hip), Shandon Baptiste (knee), and Luka Racic (back) remain out.
Lee Bowyer could have a fully-fit squad at his disposal with Ivan Sanchez (hernia) back in contention. Sam Cosgrave picked up a knock on Friday night but trained yesterday while Scott Hogan continues to manage a back issue.
🆚 Birmingham Live's Brian Dick previews Blues
⚖ Dean Whitestone will be the man in charge tonight
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