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2011/12 Season Preview: Birmingham City

2011/12 Season Preview: Birmingham City
Next up in our look at the 2011/12 season is Carling Cup holders, Birmingham City...

Gaffer: Chris Hughton - appointed over the summer after Alex McLeish defected to join fierce Midlands rivals Aston Villa, Hughton's only previous managerial experience was a season or so with Newcastle.

A successful Championship-winning campaign in 2009/10 with the Toon Army was enough to qualify the former Spurs man for the top-job at St Andrews.

Position 10/11: 18th RELEGATED. Having secured the League Cup and Europa League qualification in February, McLeish was well on his way to Blues fame but a late-season slump saw Brum slip into the relegation finishing in the bottom three of the Premier League.

In: Chris Burke (Cardiff City, free), Marlon King (Coventry City, free), Adam Rooney (Inverness CT, free), Steven Caldwell (Wigan Athletic, free) and Morgaro Gomis (Dundee United, free).

Out: Craig Gardner (Sunderland, undisc.), Lee Bowyer, Garry O'Connor, Marcus Bent, Martin Jiranek, Robin Shroot, Sebastian Larsson, Stuart Parnaby, Kevin Phillips and Maik Taylor (all released).

Star Man: With centre-backs Scott Dann and Roger Johnson all but gone, goalkeeper Ben Foster will be a crucial figure in the club's fight to win promotion back to the top-flight.

Instrumental since signing last summer from Manchester United, the Leamington Spa-born stopper is surely one of the best English 'keepers in the country yet has taken a break from international duty to concentrate on his club football.

Best Business: Steven Caldwell's free transfer signing could prove to be crucial business with Roger Johnson in talks to join Wolves and Scott Dann highly sought after by Stoke amongst others it seems certain he will be an instant replacement for the duo.

Prediction: Automatic Promotion - Hughton got one big side out of this division and I fully expect him to do the same again. Birmingham have a good squad should they keep most of it together and should be in the automatic promotion shoot-out.

Writer:Tom Bodell
Date:Monday July 11 2011
Time: 4:35PM

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