Latics look to extend five game unbeaten run against the Blues on Saturday.
- Latics have kept four clean sheets in their last five games against the Blues.
- Callum McManaman, who has scored three of Latics’ last five goals against Birmingham, serves second game of three-match suspension.
- Malky Mackay unbeaten against Birmingham as a manager, winning three of the games he has taken charge of.
Latics head to the Midlands on Saturday tasked with their first Sky Bet Championship away assignment of 2015 at Birmingham City.
Malky Mackay’s side will be hopeful that they can begin life on the road in the league in 2015 the same way in which they finished 2014 after they produced a fine win at Leeds United on Boxing Day.
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LAST TIME AT ST. ANDREW’S
Birmingham City 0 – 1 Wigan Athletic
Tuesday 29th April 2014
Sky Bet Championship
The last meeting between the two sides in the Midlands was back in April as Callum McManaman’s sole strike proved the difference between the two sides as Latics secured their place in the Play-Offs of the Sky Bet Championship.
A late onslaught, led by current Latic Emyr Huws, was well absorbed by Latics’ defence with Gary Caldwell superb on his return to the side.
The defeat left Birmingham’s fate out of their own hands on the final day of the season but a 93rd minute goal to earn a draw at Bolton proved enough as Doncaster Rovers lost at Leicester City.
BIRMINGHAM CITY IN 2014/15 SO FAR
After a dismal first two months of the campaign, the arrival of former Blues defender Gary Rowett from Burton Albion has sparked an upturn in fortunes heading into the new calendar year for Birmingham City fans.
Despite keeping City in the Sky Bet Championship in 2013/14, now Blackpool boss Lee Clark struggled to kick on at the start of the new campaign, winning just two matches in 16 games in all competitions before being relieved of his duties following a 1-0 home defeat to Bolton Wanderers.
The arrival of Rowett, following two defeats for caretaker boss Malcolm Crosby, has lifted the Blues from the relegation zone up to 14th with seven wins in eleven games in all competitions lifting spirits for all at St. Andrew’s with their only blips coming in defeat against their former boss Clark at Blackpool and against high-flying Derby County.
Initially, Rowett’s impressive start stemmed from tightening up the Blues’ leaky defence with three clean sheets in four games but since he has got their attack firing on all cylinders with notable victories over Reading (6-1), Nottingham Forest (1-3) and Watford (2-1).
The second-half of the season could see Birmingham mount a serious push for the top six at their current rate with an equally mouth-watering prospect of facing Midlands rivals West Bromwich Albion in the fourth round of the FA Cup still to come also.
MAN TO WATCH – DEMARAI GRAY
18-year-old winger Demarai Gray has taken the Sky Bet Championship by storm in his first full season in the Blues’ first-team.
An England youth international, Gray broke into the Birmingham first team under Lee Clark in October 2013 and made nine appearances, scoring one goal - in a 4-2 defeat at Blackburn Rovers.
Pacey, tricky and skilful, Gray has been used far more this time around and his highlight so far this campaign came when his hat-trick led Rowett’s side to a 6-1 win over Reading at St Andrew’s.