Often Partisan

Blues to Provide Home Cheer? Bristol Rovers FA Cup Preview

Birmingham City finally get their FA Cup campaign underway with a third round home tie against Bristol Rovers with the prize being a fourth round home tie to Premier League side Swansea.

Bristol Rovers

The Gas are struggling towards the bottom of League Two, lying in 21st place, only managing to remain outside of the drop zone due to a superior goal difference. The Pirates haven’t won away from home in the league since early November although they have picked up a couple of victories in the FA Cup against York City and Crawley Town away – both in replays.

John Ward is expecting to have the same squad that beat Exeter at home at the weekend with Mark McChrystal having recovered from a thigh knock.


Blues will be without Peter Lovenkrands (groin), Tom Adeyemi (back) and Amari’i Bell (cup-tied) for this game alongside the long-term injury list. Lee Clark has promised to play his strongest side but the truth is there isn’t actually that much latitude to change the team that lost to Brighton at the weekend; the only real changes possible are Doyle for Randolph (as has happened in other cup games) and Packwood maybe in for Mullins.

Blues are hard pushed to name another defender in for Amari’i Bell who was on the bench at the weekend – by my reckoning there are only four players with squad numbers who are fit and able to play this game who weren’t in the squad on Saturday – Koby Arthur, Scott Allan, Nick Townsend (who is a keeper anyway) and Charlee Adams. It’ll be interesting if Allan makes the squad or if Blues go for more youth – Adams has played at full back and centre half this season in the development squad despite being a wide midfielder by trade.

Regardless, this should be a comfortable win for Blues – we may not be much great shakes at home but there is enough quality in the team to see off a League Two side comfortably and I would hope that Clark will be exhorting the team to put on a show for the home support who have had little to cheer this season.

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63 Responses to “Blues to Provide Home Cheer? Bristol Rovers FA Cup Preview”

  • Kazakblue says:

    Lets just hope that Blues get the result at home and do not have to suffer a further game as a replay.
    It will be interesting to see what team can be put out tonight, and as always I will be here in Kazakhstan following the live blog.
    KRO and safe journey to anyone going to St Andrews.

  • sutton apex says:

    Going tonight – blues to win 3-1, play a couple of kids like packwood

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It would have to be a very poor performance to lose to a team struggling to even stay in the football league. Having said that, this will be their cup final… and they’ll be after a giant-killing. I would expect to see Adams on the bench, as he was given a squad number before the Brighton game.

    Rovers seem to play 4-2-3-1, so I wouldn’t envisage too much change to the team. For me, tonight is the night to play Packwood. 4-1 Blues.

  • Letsby Avenue says:



    Belated Birthday Wishes- OP. [Mine is today :-( and one of my treats is a long distance haul to St Andrews]

    John Ward is a Good manager imo, he has a lot of respect amongst the professional
    ‘observers’ of the game, and rightly so.
    I think he is the equivalent of Lee Clark in many ways. Hatches-down, battle-on type of pro.

    But as much as we are drained of resources. Rovers are even more so.
    From scouting opposition to having back-up players who have started shaving.

    We have the edge :-)

    I truly wouldn’t mind us losing, because Swansea are not a great revenue builder for us…… BUT, they would be for Rovers. Almost a local derby.

    This could well be our lowest gate in decades, even at the prices and give-aways.

    Lee v John W…….

    “”I expect us to do well. I expect us to be ready and up for the game because it is our biggest game. “…John Ward

    “It’s as big as game as any game we’ve had, if not bigger.

    “There are financial implications that are crucial to our club, with the chance of a home tie against a Premier League club in the next round. “….Lee

    I hope / think / pray we win, not just because it’s my birthsay, but because Blues’ karma needs to turn to the good.

    Nobody has been under such a cloud of despondency for 3 years.

    Man Utd won the League Cup 2 years running, before us…[ versus Villa and Spurs]
    We had a higher Wembley gate then both of them…even higher than a London derby – Spurs v Chelsea – we had the highest Wembley gate bar Liverpool – since the League Cup returned to Wembley.

    Bluenoses, in frightening numbers exist… and are watching and are scared…and too many are hiding.

    It’s not fair. Our karma needs to swing soon.


  • MattNL says:

    Too early to give Reece Brown a start?
    After LC’s comments in the mail, do you think it’s a serious possibility?

    • StaffsBlue says:

      These players need to start matches sometime. The best time is when there are plenty of experienced players around to help them. One or two in a game is about right I think. I’m hoping Packwood and Brown get a run out.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    This is the side I’d like to see tonight (fat chance though:)


    Caddis Packwood Robinson Hancox


    Burke Brown Reilly Ferguson

    Zigic Novak

    That’s protection for the back 4, plus plenty going forward.

  • dave mann says:

    Chris W, mike bassett was england manager in the film played by ricky tomlinson…remember? KRO.

  • dave mann says:

    dont care what team lee puts out as long as we win…end off.KRO,

  • Frankie says:

    Have a ‘soft spot’ for the Gas Heads’ and hope they stay up.
    However, business is business and am confident we will have more than enough tonight.

  • sappy dsd says:

    get your money on brum for the cup …super blues

  • mark says:

    for our young players to experience playing in a FA cup game should give them goose bumps, and tremendous feeling………..

  • Kazakblue says:


    Grant Holt is not the only person having a medical in the Second City this morning, we hear Brian Howard is undergoing his at Birmingham too.

  • mark says:

    Charlee Adams would be a worthy player maybe along with scott allan these players will either take the opportunity given………

  • dave mann says:

    i agree mark but the fa cup has lost its mojo over the last 10/15 yeas and i dont think even the
    younger players see this competition as big as a championship game…..its sad i know but thats
    the way its going now ime sorry to say. KRO.

  • Chris W says:

    Can’t see much stopping us from progressing tonight, it would be the worse performance I can remember, that includes Altrincham and Kidderminster.
    Out of 18 encounters Blues have lost only two and never lost to Bristol Rovers at St Andrews.
    We need the crowd to get behind whatever team LC decides on, we need the same levels as those who travel.

  • mark says:

    kind of looking forward to seeing Brian Howard join our ranks……hopefully all goes well for him..

    Bye Bye Amborsa good luck in the sun………….

  • DoctorD says:

    Listen, this match ain’t gonna be easy boys and girls. There will be hardly any goals and they will scare us. We need nerves of steel to win.

  • dave mann says:

    the scalp of playing a premier side in the 4th round will be enough for rovers to give it everything
    tonight though if i was a rovers fan ide see birmingham as a bigger draw than swansea but its
    all about being in the premier league, were win the game but there certainly give us some bother
    along the way.KRO.

    • mark says:

      dave i fancy ourselves against the swans again……..you are right what you say…….blues need to do a professional job on rovers, and execute whatever plan clark decides to go with………….get it wrong it could bite you on the arse……………………..

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Ambrose move completed.

  • TonyE says:

    Personally I’d rest Robbo tonight, his old legs could probably do with a rest and if he played and got booked he’d miss the next 2 games. Now I know that suspension is coming, but let’s try and delay it as long as possible. Mullins played well on Saturday and has good experience to put alongside Packwood.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I would prefer him suspended for Yeovil and Watford and have him back for Leicester and Derby myself.

    • Chris W says:

      With the tough games coming up I would have thought Robbo would have taken a booking on Saturday, then he would have missed tonight and Yeovil but been available for Swansea, if we get through, Leicester and Derby.
      I think we should go 3 in defence tonight, Packwood, Robbo, Hancox, with 5 in midfield, Caddis, Burke, Mullins, Lee/Brown, Ferguson, 1, 1 Novak/Hales, Ziggy.
      Hopefully we will have Burn back for our league matches and Bartley back for February.

  • mark says:

    i hope reece does not fall into the same trap as Foday Nabay, and continue his footballing education with us………+ signs a contract which could keep him with us til he’s 20

  • pierre says:

    lingard scored a 25 yard screamer for man utds under 21s,their fans very impressed with his performance,talk of him going straight into the starting line up.

  • Auld Bertie says:

    As a 15-year-old my first away match was against Bristol Rovers in the 4th round of the league cup on 27th October 1970 at the old Eastville stadium. I went on the old soccer special train from New St which cost about £2. We were rubbish on the night and lost 3-0 so after all these years I’m looking for retribution, albeit in a different competition :)

    • Chris W says:

      I remember the good old soccer specials, use to ask for my paper round wages on a Saturday morning so I could get the ticket. Went all over the country on those, Remember coming out of London on the floor with no windows in after we beat Millwall, but mainly happy days and great banter.
      I think we will start slowly tonight but will be too strong and finish 3-1 in our favour.

      • Auld Bertie says:

        I did mine off my paper round money too Chris. I went all over the country on them too. Sometimes they’d be awash with stale beer and bottles but the atmosphere was generally good regardless of the result. The longest journey I had was Norwich which took about 4 hours but the forerunners of the zulus always kept us entertained with their antics :)

        • Chris W says:

          Yes, the good old smell of stale smoke and beer and watching the poor unfortunates who fell asleep having their shoe laces tied together, but in general it was good bonding, I think my furthest was Hull and the old Boothferry ground, Roger Hynd punched the ball over the bar and we lost to the resulting penalty 1-0.

    • DoctorD says:

      Not that you’re one to bear grudges! Blimey, 44 years of hurt!

  • dave mann says:

    one of the great debuts was lingard but hasent done to much since( though that might sound harsh)
    ide love him back but we must get on with what weve got and that should be to much for rovers and
    a chance to start a run of 5 home games with a win and then that breeds confidence for the next 4
    home games. KRO.

  • Richard Granfield says:

    I would like to welcome Brian Howard to Blues. At his best he is a classy left-sided midfielder who will add creativity and provide chances for others.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    All out attack tonight looking at the team. 4-4-2.

  • Shirley Blue says:

    It is a bold selection. Let’s hope they haven’t got any height up front. Interesting to see how much control Lee and Brown will give us in central midfield and get the ball out wide where we are strong.

  • chas says:

    Burn played for Fulham again tonight. Being pessimistic, looks as if we have seen the last of him in a Blues shirt this Season.

    • almajir says:

      Hopefully you’ll be eating those words today or tomorrow ;)

    • mark says:

      or some humble pie……………dear chas

      • chas says:

        :-) I wont mind in the least if I do. Can I have a side plate of Red Face as well if it turns out that way ..

        • chas says:

          Taken from a well known TV site.
          Birmingham City manager Lee Clark admits he is working hard to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window and is hoping to bring Fulham defender Dan Burn and Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard back to St Andrew’s on loan

          Before kick-off I had seen quotes from (Fulham boss) Rene Meulensteen saying that the best thing he thought for Dan Burn was to come back to us, he had really developed in the first half of the season. I’m hoping that’s still the case. First thing on Wednesday morning I’ll be speaking with Fulham.

          I’m still pestering David Moyes on a regular basis about Jesse Lingard, I haven’t given up on that. And I’ve got one or two other irons in the fire as well.

  • sutton apex says:

    just got in – professional performance, easy win in the end, wembley ere we cum !!

  • Chris W says:

    I said we would start slow, luckily Bristol Rovers didn’t have a lot to offer as I thought defensively we looked frail.
    Good to see Robbo on the score sheet and Burke finished the game with a brace too.
    Reece Brown had a good game, but does look a little light but he did lay off some good balls and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet, he is only young and the experience will stand him in good stead.
    I still don’t think Robbo and Mullins are the answer to our defence, they were both too easily beaten in the air tonight, not sure why Packwood wasn’t given a run, especially when Mitch Hancox took a knock.

    A slight change in subject but on my drive over tonight I listened to Talksport and an interview with Darren Ambrose.
    LC said it didn’t work out and that he was a talented player and wished him well.
    DA said it was down to the manager not picking him because he didn’t suit LC’s tactics, he also claimed he was accused of not putting a shift in and helping out when required.
    Make what you will, who was right or wrong, it wasn’t the first club DA had been accused of being a lazy player, one of the reasons Charlton released him.

    Hopefully Brian Howard can give us some more options from Midfield and Dan Burn returns in time for the big games, still think we are going to need another striker.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Well, we made hard work of that. The game was crying out for a goalscorer. If we’d had a natural scorer on the pitch last night, he would have been carrying off the match ball. I’ve never seen so many chances going begging. Lee Clark has to make that area his priority. If we miss chances like that against Swansea, they’ll bury us.

    Other than that, it was a good competent performance. Let’s put Yeovil to the sword now.

  • mark says:

    tbh blues score should have been 5 or 6 really………. agreed quite a lot of chances did go begging………
    how can we complain when our defence gets ripped apart, and we also lose two strikers……….
    good old robbo, hopefully burkeeeee found his scoring boots again…….
    well done to reece brown…..
    welldone team kro

  • mark says:

    glad to see effort put in by ziggy in both areas defensively and attacking……….. clark should be given credit for at least motivating him………… he had a few opportunity last night but managed to hit the goalkeeper.

    well done to the rovers fans who came in their numbers to at least make the atmosphere bearable………kro

  • dave mann says:

    easy win in the end but rovers are a poor side and we should have won by more, well
    pleased with reece brown, calm, confident, looks the dogs to me and a word about rovers
    support witch was fantastic and came in there numbers to embariss another poor home

  • StaffsBlue says:

    We need to beat Yeovil now and get 2 monkeys off our back. 1. A first league win at home for about 3 months and 2. To break through the 30 point barrier. It’s been a slow crawl up to that point.

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