Championship: Burton Albion v Birmingham City
By Peter Hampshire
Gary Rowett returns to the Pirelli Stadium with his fifth-place Birmingham City side looking to usurp Burton’s impressive home record in their first ever fixture.
Nigel Clough’s Brewers have picked up 10 points from a possible 15 at home in their debut Championship season, but have injury concerns.
Instrumental Australian winger Jackson Irvine, signed from Ross County in the summer, will hope to recover from a dead leg picked up in the midweek defeat to Ipswich to add to his five-goal haul.
John Brayford and Jamie Ward are also doubts for the Staffordshire club.
Birmingham can recall David Davies following suspension. They were buoyed by the return of Jamaican striker Clayton Donaldson earlier this week, who has four goals this season after being out for a month.
The Blues can close the gap to second-placed Norwich to one point, yet Rowett told BBC Sport he is wary of becoming “another notch on their bedpost” after Burton chalked up home victories over Sheffield Wednesday, Derby and Cardiff.
Rowett, touted as a future England manager over the summer, may look to former Brewer Jacques Maghoma, a key figure in City’s midweek 4-2 win over Rotherham. Rowett is looking to pick up a third win in four games before next weekend’s derby match at home to Aston Villa.
Burton, who sit two points above the relegation zone, have struggled after an impressive start, winning only one in their last eight. Birmingham meanwhile have scored in seven of their last eight on the road in all competitions.