Form, stats, betting, referee and everything you need to know ahead of Ipswich Town’s trip to Birmingham City

Freddie Sears is held back as Daryl Murphy can't direct his header into the net during the final stages of the Ipswich...

Freddie Sears is held back as Daryl Murphy can't direct his header into the net during the final stages of the Ipswich Town v Birmingham (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK on 18 September 2015. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

A bite-sized look ahead to Ipswich Town’s visit to St Andrew’s to take on Birmingham City.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles can't believe he's shot wide late in the Ipswich Town V Birmingham (championship) match at Portman...

Ainsley Maitland-Niles can't believe he's shot wide late in the Ipswich Town V Birmingham (championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK on 18 September 2015 Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

When and where?

Saturday, 3pm, St Andrew’s

What’s the team news?

Mick McCarthy will be back to his tried and tested team following the changes for Tuesday’s FA Cup defeat at Portsmouth, with those rested all likely to return to face the Blue Noses. Luke Chambers, Cole Skuse and Christophe Berra all had knocks but will feature in the Midlands.

New signing Kevin Foley could be involved if he receives international clearance.

Who is their manager?

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Gary Rowett has done an excellent job at Birmingham, having initially righted the ship and now has them pushing towards the play-offs. Star youngster Demarai Gray has been sold to Leicester, but Rowett still has a strong squad of committed players at his disposal.

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

How have they been getting on so far this season?

Birmingham are just a place and two points behind the Blues, in eighth place in the Championship table, following a solid opening half of the season. It’s been a slightly patchy one, with runs of three, four and five games without a win at spells during the campaign, but go into this game on the back of a stunning 3-0 victory over Derby last weekend.

What does the two sides’ form look like over the last five games?

Birmingham: W-W-L-D-W

Ipswich: D-D-W-D-L

Who has the best record in this fixture?

Clayton Donaldson is dangerous for Birmingham

Clayton Donaldson is dangerous for Birmingham - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Blues have the edge in the all-time series, having won 34 of the 76 games between the two sides. Birmingham have won 27, with 15 draws.

What happened when they met earlier in the season?

In a Friday night game under the lights at Portman Road, the Blues fell behind on 22 minutes after David Cotterill drilled the ball past Dean Gerken, but a surging run forward from Ainsley Maitland-Niles and a slightly dubious refereeing decision allowed Brett Pitman to level matters from the spot in a game which ended 1-1.

Who is the ref?

Michael Bull has the whistle for the game, having last taken charge of his one and only Town game away at Bournemouth in November 2014. So far this season he’s taken charge of 10 games, showing 25 yellow cards and three red.

Who is the Birmingham danger men?

Mick McCarthy during his first game for Ipswich, at St Andrew's

Mick McCarthy during his first game for Ipswich, at St Andrew's

Big striker Clayton Donaldson is City’s joint leading scorer alongside Jon Toral and can be a danger to any defence. He will offer a battle both Tommy Smith and Berra will enjoy, though, with the outcome of the duel sure to be crucial. Elsewhere, Stephen Gleeson and Jacques Maghoma are both liable to cause problems.

What are the bookies saying?

It’s all very tight. The hosts are 17/10, the draw’s 12/5 and the Blues are 9/5 to grab an away victory in a game which looks tough to call.

Freddie Sears has been discussing his goal struggles from out wide ahead of this game and, if you fancy him to find the net, he is 7/1 to open the scoring.

Anything else worth knowing?

St Andrew’s is where Mick McCarthy’s managerial reign began in November 2012 and he returns this time having a signed a new deal which could keep him at Portman Road until 2020.

McCarthy is unbeaten in his seven clashes with the Blues as manager of Ipswich.

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