Match Preview | Cardiff City vs. Birmingham City
OPPOSITION FOCUS | IN THE DUGOUT
The Blues are under new management for 2022/23, as John Eustace was appointed head coach back in July.
During his playing career, the former midfielder was experienced in the EFL, having represented the likes of Coventry City, Stoke City, Watford and Derby County.
Making the switch to management in 2016, Eustace spent two years at non-league outfit Kidderminster Harriers, before taking on assistant roles with Queens Park Rangers and the Republic of Ireland.
As former Blues boss Lee Bowyer departed the club this summer, Eustace was announced just a day later. Earning a draw against Luton Town and a victory over Huddersfield Town, the Blues have made an unbeaten start to the Championship campaign.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | SUMMER SIGNINGS
Eustace acted quickly in adding to his Birmingham City squad, mainly utilising the loan market.
Former Cardiff City defender Dion Sanderson joined on a season-long loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, whilst Norwich City’s Przemysław Placheta also signed on loan.
Boss Eustace further bolstered his options with the loan signings of American defender Auston Trusty from Arsenal and Krystian Bielik from Derby County.
Also adding invaluable experience to his squad, Eustace opted to bring in goalkeeper John Ruddy, following the expiration of his contract at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
OPPOSITION FOCUS | KEY PLAYERS
The Blues’ main danger is striker Scott Hogan, who netted the opening goal in their victory over Huddersfield Town. The attacker scored ten goals in the Championship last season and ended the campaign as the club’s top scorer.
Polish winger Placheta has made a great start in blue, having also found the net in the 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town. Operating alongside Juninho Bacuna in midfield, the loanee has already made a positive impression at St Andrew’s.
Bacuna has been a valuable player to the Blues since signing from Rangers in January. The Curaçao international netted twice and assisted on four occasions last season, showing early promise in his Birmingham City career.
CITY CONNECTIONS | BLUEBIRDS AND BLUES
There have been a number of players to have represented both Cardiff City and Birmingham City. Saturday’s fixture could see former Bluebirds Sanderson and Neil Etheridge return to the Welsh capital.
Sanderson spent time on loan at City in 2020, whilst Etheridge was a masterful signing for the club, playing a huge part in the club’s promotion to the Premier League under Neil Warnock.
Bluebirds’ U23s coach Darren Purse made over a century of appearances for both clubs, notably earning the Blues’ player of the season in the 2000/01 campaign.
Another hugely popular figure to represent both sides is Chris Burke. The Scottish winger joined the Bluebirds on a free transfer and went on to become an important asset.
Going on to sign for Birmingham City in 2011, Burke also made an impression at St Andrew’s, notably featuring in the starting eleven in their first match in European competition for nearly 50 years against Nacional.