With just one week left to go before the kick-off of the new season, we’re going to take a look at how Gary Rowett’s Birmingham side could line-up and how they might play.
Having signed a new contract this summer, Clayton Donaldson will almost certainly start up top on his own. His work rate and hold up play make him ideal for this role, as he brings others into play and relieves pressure with his work rate. He is quick, too, so can cause problems in behind.
The three behind him can rotate and move, especially as new boy Jon Toral can slot in out wide or at number 10. There are plenty of options for those three positions, with Jacques Maghoma and Koby Arthur able to play in any of the roles too. Shinnie and Donaldson forged a good partnership last year, and flanked by the ever dangerous Demarai Gray and the enigmatic David Cotterill, there are plenty of goals in the squad.
In the pivot roles, Kieftenbeld is likely to start and Rowett seems keen to play Gleeson rather than Davis, if last season shows anything. Gleeson keeps the ball better than Davis, though Davis is better at winning it back. From what little we know of Kieftenbeld, he seems to be a reliable defender who is comfortable on the ball, so Davis’ defensive prowess might be less necessary. That said, Davis is a capable replacement for either midfielder and will almost certainly get chances to show what he can do.
The back four is subject to change, as Grounds may be moved to centre-half if Blues can find an able replacement at full back. Edgar has been playing in pre-season and showed himself to be a decent defender at this level last year, so if Rowett needs him to, he could partner Morrison, who is a certain starter. Caddis will be a mainstay, almost certainly.
Kuszczak is a keeper with great experience, even if his pre-season has been shaky. Should his season start as his pre-season has, Legzdins can deputise comfortably.