Birmingham City manager, Gianfranco Zola, has confirmed today that several key players look set to return to their squad ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Newcastle, who will be without two key men through injury.
Zola, who has lead Birmingham to just 2 wins in his last 16 games in charge, this news came as a timely boost today as he expects .
Speaking to the Birmingham Mail today, he confirmed the return of Ryan Donaldson (striker), Jacques Maghoma (winger) and Cheick Keita (left-back):
“Clayton Donaldson will be in the squad tomorrow which is very good news.“He is much better and catching up (on fitness).
“ Also, Jacques Maghoma will be included in the squad.
“Keita trained this morning, so he is fit in terms of medical fitness, but in terms of condition I don’t know because he didn’t train for most of the week so I will decide tomorrow.
Birmingham will also have been boosted by today’s team news from the Newcastle camp. While the NUFC boss provided a positive update on Paul Dummett, who has been suffering with a heel problem, Benitez also confirmed that first choice centre-back, Ciaran Clark, will miss out:
“Clark is not available. He has a problem with his medial ligament so he won’t play.”
“Dummett is fine.”
Clark could be a big miss for Newcastle. He and Jamaal Lascelles have built a very solid partnership on the road this season, being one of the key factors behind Newcastle’s outstanding away record. While the capable Grant Hanley and Chancel Mbemba wait in the wings, let’s hope the ‘medial ligament’ injury sustained by Clark is only minor.
DeAndre Yedlin will, of course, be another notable absentee tomorrow as he begins his recovery from a thigh tear that has ruled him out for 5 weeks
While Birmingham may be boosted by todays team news, the form table gives them very little to shout about. They have picked up 7 points in the last 10, with three straight home defeats in the league. Should Newcastle cope with Clark’s absence, you’d like to think the team will find a way to another vital 3 points on the road.