It’s been a bit of a miserable season for Birmingham City, but Aitor Karanka may have finally found the winning formula for the Blues.
A run of just one win in 13 Championship games saw them slip into the relegation zone, but City have turned things around in the last four games, losing just one of those – and that was to runaway league leaders Norwich.
More importantly though, they’ve picked up two wins in that time – away at relegation rivals Sheffield Wednesday and then last weekend a remarkable comeback was completed against Queens Park Rangers thanks to late goals from Kristian Pedersen and Alen Halilovic.
A midweek draw with Huddersfield kept the Blues in 21st place, but with Rotherham having games in hand on the rest of the teams battling to stay in the division, Karanka and his team could find themselves back in the bottom three soon enough.
Birmingham City quiz: Are these 12 facts about the Blues’ history genuine or not?
One player who has been very important to their recent success is flying Spanish winger Ivan Sanchez, but Karanka will have to be monitoring him very closely as he’s playing through the pain barrier.
The 28-year-old has been suffering from a groin problem and considering Sanchez has played the majority of the last four games, he may find himself on the bench for their visit to the Tykes.
One player who will still be missing though is Sam Cosgrove, who has made just two substitute appearances since his January switch from Aberdeen.
There’s no public time-frame on the striker’s potential return, with Karanka hopeful that he will be back with the squad ‘soon’.
One thing that Karanka may change though is his system – with Barnsley setting up in a 3-4-3 formation the Spaniard could use a three centre-back system of his own to counteract the threat of the Yorkshire side.
PREDICTED BIRMINGHAM CITY XI (3-5-2): Etheridge; Roberts, Dean, Clarke-Salter; Colin, Sunjic, Halilovic, Harper, Pedersen; Hogan, Jutkiewicz.