Preview: Birmingham v Tottenham

Birmingham hope to build on Wednesday’s 2-1 Carling Cup quarter-final win over Aston Villa when they welcome Spurs to St Andrews on Saturday.Birmingham v Tottenham

While booking a semi-final spot in the league cup will no doubt have pleased boss Alex McLeish, his side’s lowly English Premier League position – 14th, just three points outside the relegation zone – will have him more worried.

In their last league game, Birmingham were held to a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage by Fulham.

Spurs, on the other hand, are flying at the moment, and having already secured Champions League football after Christmas, Harry Redknapp’s men lie in fifth spot in the standings with 25 points from their 15 games, just six behind leaders Manchester United.

Spurs had to come from behind in their last league match to secure a 2-1 win at home over Liverpool.

Less pleasing for Redknapp is his side’s horror run with injury, with Dutch ace Rafael van der Vaart the latest in a long line to be cut down at White Hart Lane and as the injury list grows, so does the pressure on the squad.

While the loss of van der Vaart is a big blow to the side’s creative spark, it is at the back where Redknapp has most of his concerns and, tellingly, they have not kept a clean sheet in their last 14 league games.

As well as regular omissions Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate and Michael Dawson, the loss of Younes Kaboul to a hip complaint will further stretch Spurs’ defensive stocks.

The news from the physio is much better for McLeish’s men, with Craig Gardner being named on the bench for the Villa game meaning he should be ready to resume against Spurs, although the hamstring injury Alexander Hleb suffered against Fulham could keep him out on Saturday.

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