Phillips blasts 'ridiculous' fixture

NOT just stung by two straight defeats Birmingham City striker Kevin Phillips arrives at Ipswich Town today angry at being forced to travel to East Anglia on Boxing Day.

Derek Davis

NOT just stung by two straight defeats Birmingham City striker Kevin Phillips arrives at Ipswich Town today angry at being forced to travel to East Anglia on Boxing Day.

Although Town fans would regard a trip to St Andrews as one of the easier trips, the City squad is not happy about making the journey on Christmas Day evening.

Father-of-four Phillips would have preferred spending as much time with his loved ones as possible.


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Going to the likes of Wolves, Coventry, Derby, Nottingham Forest, or even Watford would have made Boxing Day easier for the City contingent.

The jaunt to Suffolk, added to a home fixture against Swansea two days later, means the 35-year-old will get precious little time to enjoy the festivities.

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Phillips said: “The Boxing Day fixture is ridiculous.

“You look at how many teams there are in the Midlands that we could have played and we've got to travel to one of the furthest places that we have to travel to - it's crazy.

''I don't know how they sorted these fixtures out. It's absolutely ridiculous - why couldn't we have played a Wolves or a Coventry?

''There's no reason why it couldn't have been, to put us as far away as possible is crazy but there you are, that's the FA for you.”

Phillips, Birmingham's current top scorer with 11, is preparing to brush aside his frustration and make it a worthwhile trip to Ipswich.

After two straight defeats its vital City make the most of festive fixtures coming thick and fast by returning to winning ways at the expense of Jim Magilton's men.

“At the end of the day we've got to go to Ipswich at some stage, unfortunately it's going to be Boxing Day, but let's hope we can make it a positive one,” he added.

“Boxing Day is tradition so whatever team we played, we'll go, give it our best shot and it's important that we get some kind of result.”

Birmingham midfielder Sebastian Larsson is in a race against time to be fit for the trip to Portman Road.

The Sweden international returned from a groin injury to face Reading last weekend but is suffering slight discomfort following the 3-1 defeat.

James McFadden, however, who also returned from a groin strain to face the Royals is okay and is expected to feature.

Defender Liam Ridgewell returns from his one-match ban, meaning he should slot into the centre of defence, pushing Franck Queudrue back to left-back.

Midfielder Damien Johnson (back) could be named among the substitutes as he looks to get some first-team minutes under his belt, while right-back Nicky Hunt, winger Quincy Owusu-Abeyie and striker Marcus Bent are all pushing for starts.

Defender Stephen Kelly (thigh) has returned to training but not with the full group, but winger Gary McSheffrey (knee) and striker Garry O'Connor (groin) remain injured.

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