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Preview: Blues v Leeds United

Even in this tough period, our fans have been right behind us and you can see that the lads are trying to respond and give everything they can.

Garry Monk.

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture against Leeds United at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Garry Monk on how the mood in training has been this week...
"This team is not afraid of adversity and we've shown that all season long. Trying to be competitive in every game this season has been a big factor of our game. Especially in recent games you've seen us come back out of ourselves. Confidence levels within the dressing room have remained intact which is really important. We trust in them to get us through the adversity we're in right now and to see us through to the end of the season. In the last two games that competitiveness and mentality has been there, and we need to continue that in what is going to be a difficult week this week."

Garry Monk on the need for his side to build on the positives from the narrow defeat to West Brom last time out...
"We always try and focus on the positives. Any negatives we have try to get right. We have a great bunch of lads that are hardworking who care strongly about what they are doing on the pitch for Birmingham City Football Club. That's been a key for us and will continue for these next seven games without wavering at all. Even in this tough period, our fans have been right behind us and you can see that the lads are trying to respond and give everything they can. We’re not the type of team that can be anything but 100 per cent to warrant any points."

Garry Monk on the importance of Pablo Hernandez to the Leeds side...
"Pablo's quality is undeniable. I brought him in to Leeds and we were very lucky to have him at Leeds, obviously we had a relationship with Pablo previous to that and that was a factor in him coming. But Leeds also have other qualities, they have quite a few players there who have the quality to play at a higher level and they are showing that this season. Pablo is obviously one of the best players in the league, especially offensively. He is a quality above in this league. We are hoping he doesn't contribute as well in this game, I will have a good chat with him afterwards - but hopefully he doesn't perform as well as he has done."

Garry Monk on the progress that his former club Leeds United have made this season...
"It's a fantastic, huge club - that type of club needs to be in the Premier League. This season seems to be the season Andrea (Radrizzano) and the players themselves have decided is the season. The nucleus was there, they had a good foundation of players, they have now spent and invested in what I feel are very good players and given themselves the best chance of it. They are in a fantastic position to do it. I have said all along that club should be in the Premier League, obviously we weren't quite in a position for that when I was there but working towards that goal. Last season I think there was a few mistakes that were made, I think they have corrected them, and they have given themselves a great chance. But this Saturday hopefully they are not in good form, we can perform well and win that game then afterwards if Leeds make it to the Premier League congratulations to them, it's a fantastic, huge club. In terms of size and stature it needs to be in the Premier League."

Leeds United Head Coach Marcelo Bielsa's comments ahead of the game...
"Birmingham, after they beat us at Elland Road, they started a long period where they showed a high level with this team. With good strikers and wingers, they are very solid in defence. In the first game, I didn’t feel all these skills. After they showed these skills in long period after they played with us."

Blues team news...
Maikel Kieftenbeld has recovered from the illness that kept him out of Blues' last fixture at West Brom. This means that Garry Monk has a full squad to select from against Leeds. 

Leeds United team news...
Defender Barry Douglas is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing knee ligament surgery. Forward Kemar Roofe could return for the first time since mid-February after recovering from a knee injury. Goalkeeper Kiko Casilla is back after missing last week's game through suspension.

Last five meetings between Blues and Leeds United...
Championship 22 Sep 2018 Leeds 1 Blues 2
Championship 30 Dec 2017 Blues 1 Leeds 0
Championship 12 Sep 2017 Leeds 2 Blues 0
Championship 03 Mar 2017 Blues 1 Leeds 3
Championship 13 Aug 2016 Leeds 1 Blues 2

Form guide. Last five Championship fixtures....
Blues LLLLL
Leeds: WWWLW

Total meetings...
Blues wins: 40
Leeds wins: 39
Draws: 26

Ticket news...
Tickets are on general sale. For prices and purchasing details, please click here.

BluesTV…
BluesTV will be broadcasting live from the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium. UK & EIRE customers will be able to listen to listen to this game as part of their subscription. Commentary will be provided by Jonathan Bell and former Blues captain Kevan Broadhurst. International subscribers in selected overseas countries can watch the game. Click here to subscribe to BluesTV.

Important supporter message...
In light of recent events, the Club is urging all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this and never take it for granted. The scrutiny of the football world, the wider public and the authorities is on us and we urge everyone to rally together to project the correct and positive image of the Club. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch, under any circumstances. Think of the damage you may be doing to your Club and also the punishment you may incur personally. We are sure everyone is aware that the Football Association have powers to take serious action against the Club, which can include heavy fines and ground closure. The Club, as did others, recently received a written warning from the FA about missiles being thrown onto the pitch, at home and away games. As a result, neither bottles or containers are allowed at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium and drinks are decanted into paper cups. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding at this time. We continually review all our stewarding, safety and security measures and we remain committed to making your experience following Blues a safe one and as pleasant as possible - but we also need YOUR help.
Thank you.

Match officials…
Select Group Official Mike Dean will take charge of Saturday's game. So far this season, the Wirral-based official has refereed 31 games where he has produced a total of 129 yellow cards and 11 reds. The last Blues game he refereed was our Championship home fixture against Aston Villa in October 2016. Blues drew that game 1-1 and there were five players cautioned; including David Davis and Maikel Kieftenbeld for the hosts. During his refereeing career to date, Mr Dean has taken charge of 26 Blues matches - seven of which Blues have won, eight they have drawn and 11 they have lost. The last Leeds game he took charge of was the Whites' FA Cup third round defeat at Newport in January 2018.Leeds lost that game 2-1 and there were three players cautioned; including Gaetano Berardi and Jay-Roy Grot. Leeds also saw Samu Saiz sent-off late in the tie. In total, Mr Dean has taken charge of 26 Leeds games; with the Whites winning 10 of them, drawing three and losing 13. Mr Dean will be assisted on Saturday by Ian Hussin and Mark Scholes, with Darren England acting as the fourth official.

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