Birmingham City will look to build on Saturday’s crucial win over Sheffield Wednesday when they take on Norwich at St. Andrew’s tonight.
The victory at Hillsborough ended an alarming run for Aitor Karanka’s side, and importantly it saw them move out of the relegation zone.
Whilst it was a major relief to pick up three points against a relegation rival, the Spaniard knows that there is still a lot of work to do to ensure Blues aren’t playing in League One next season.
And, unfortunately for Karanka, things aren’t about to get any easier. That’s because the league leaders are the opponents this evening, and they arrive seeking a fourth consecutive win, with the likes of Todd Cantwell, Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki all in fine form.
So, there’s some big decisions for Karanka to make, and here we look at TWO dilemmas he will have before kick-off…
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Whether to adopt a more defensive approach
Normally, after an important win, you would want to build momentum, but the reality is that Norwich represent a major hurdle for Blues to overcome.
Therefore, he has to be considering operating with a more defensive approach, whether that’s switching to a back five or just bringing in more defensive players in certain positions.
That’s not going to go down well with the fans, but the Canaries need to be respected. The attacking trio of Buendia, Cantwell and Pukki are formidable at this level, and serious attention needs to be paid to ensure they don’t run riot.
This is going to be a totally different game to the one against the Owls, with Blues sure to be soaking up a lot of pressure and trying to play on the break.
Whether to consider the schedule
We know how demanding the Championship is, and Birmingham are in a particularly busy period right now.
Having played at the weekend, they obviously welcome the Yellows this evening, before hosting QPR on Saturday and travelling to Huddersfield next week.
With four games in such a short space of time, it’s inevitable that some players won’t be able to feature in all four. So, Karanka may have to think about the fitness levels of his players, and make decisions with the R’s game in mind.
He needs to have a competitive XI out for the three games in the next week.