Garry Monk and Birmingham City will be hoping the worst is behind them after a turbulent year at St Andrew's
Birmingham City 2018/19
League Position: 17th (19th in 2017/18)
Average league attendance: 22,483 (21,042 in 17/18)
Top league goalscorer: Che Adams (22)
Under Garry Monk, Blues began the season with transfer restrictions imposed by the EFL for breaches of their Profitability and Sustainability Regulations, and finished it in 17th place after a nine-point deduction was also imposed. The deduction put paid to hopes of promotion via the play-offs, but the team were able to avoid relegation with two matches still to play.
Unable to register more than five players over the course of the season, Garry Monk had to trust the bulk of the squad which had narrowly avoided relegation the previous season. Fortunately for Blues, in Che Adams and Lukas Jutkiewicz, they had two strikers about to enjoy a golden season.
The duo contributed 36 of the club's 64 league goals as Blues built on their promising end to the previous season under Monk. Heading into March sitting eighth, there were genuine hopes around St Andrew's that a Play-Off push was on but by the end of a horror month, staying up was the main priority.
Monk's side lost five on the bounce and received their nine-point deduction, leaving them just five points above the drop zone heading into April. An unbeaten seven-game run to the end of campaign ensured second tier football for next season, one which Blues fans will be dominated more by on, not off the pitch, matters.
Miles from Brentford: 119
Address: Cattell Road, Birmingham, B9 4RL
Garry Monk arrived at St Andrew's in March 2018, having left Middlesbrough the previous December.
The central defender began his playing career with Torquay United before moving on to Southampton in 1996. Following loan spells with Stockport County, Oxford United and Sheffield Wednesday, he joined Barnsley on a permanent deal. After making just three appearances for The Tykes, he joined League Two side Swansea City in 2004 and went on to play in every division for The Swans until they reached the top flight in 2011, the majority of his later appearances coming as captain.
Stepping into the dugout, the 39-year-old saved his former club from relegation and took them to the Europa League Round of 32, having taken over from Michael Laudrup in 2014. The following year saw league doubles over both Arsenal and Manchester United as Swansea finished eighth. After a run of one win in 11 games, he left Swansea in 2015 after more than 12 years with the Welsh club. A season-long stay at Leeds United, where he guided The Whites to their highest league finish in six years, and a short spell at Middlesbrough followed before his arrival in the second city last year.
The Key Man
Che Adams - 2018/19 48 appearances, 22 goals
Top-scorer Adams was in red-hot form for Blues last season but whether he will still be a Birmingham City player come August is very much up for debate. A host of Premier League clubs are casting admiring glances towards the powerful 22-year-old striker who terrorised defences last season; his performances earning him a place in the EFL's Championship Team of the Season, both Birmingham's Players' and Supporters' Player of the Year prize, plus the Blues Goal of the Season.
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 12
Birmingham City wins: 19
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