Bolton look value to batter the Blues
Birmingham may be Carling Cup champions but it has come at a cost! They are in the midst of a serious injury crisis that has bled them dry of many first team players. It is the worst injury situation that McLeish has witnessed since taking control of the team.
The list is endless, they are without Lee Bowyer, Bentley, Fahey, Ridgewell, Gardner, Zigic, Carr, Hleb, Dann and McFadden. Barry Ferguson will have to play through the pain barrier and McLeish is struggling to assemble a team.
The stats are also against Birmingham, Bolton have won three and lost none of the last four matches against the Blues. They looked fantastic in the Carling Cup final but they are off the boil and the priority must be Premier League survival.
Birmingham are 19/10 to win in ninety minutes, the draw is 21/10 and Bolton are 6/4. I rarely punt on ninety minute markets but the 6/4 on Bolton will definitely shorten before the off and it looks cracking value.
Birmingham impressed everyone with their Carling Cup win and they do not need another cup run. Bolton are thriving under Owen Coyle, they play stylish football and they have the security of being in mid-table in the league.
They are without the Chelsea loanee Daniel Sturridge who is cup-tied. So, Ivan Klasnic can do a job upfront for the Trotters. Klasnic is 6/1 to score the first goal and 7/4 to find the net anytime. He has scored the winning goal in each of Bolton's last three victories.
Bolton have not conceded a goal yet this season in the Carling Cup. They are 8/5 to keep a clean sheet but they will be up against Martins or Jerome. Martins is 7/4 to score anytime and 6/1 to score first.
He is a very talented player but sometimes he fails to turn up. Owen Coyle should see the FA Cup as a realistic opportunity at winning some silverware. They will not go down this season and the prospect of European football would be very appealing for the fans.
I also fancy less than 2.5 goals but it is too short at 13/20. Both teams are missing pivotal strikers and neither of them score vast amounts of goals. I may have a nibble at Bolton -1 goal at 4/1, if they score early, Birmingham's heads could turn and they may concede a few more.
If I was to look at a correct score, I would be swayed by 2-1 Bolton at 17/2 or the 2-0 at 11/1. The last game that Birmingham need now is another cup match, they must concentrate on consolidating their league position.