• Match pack: Blues v Villa
  • Carew boost with star striker in frame for Blues return
  • Clark: Legend Cowans taught me significance of derby day
  • Albrighton dreams of winning derby goal as Blues match approaches
  • Walker hoping to continue his fab derby record with victory over Blues

Match pack: Blues v Villa


Match: Birmingham City v Villa
Competition: Barclays Premier League
Venue: St Andrew's
Date: Sunday January 16 - 12noon
Referee: Mark Clattenburg


RELATED CONTENT

Video: Gerard Houllier press conference - click here
Video: Pre-match show - click here
Video: Dion Dublin on Blues test - click here
Video: Villa goals against Blues - click here
Text: Carew set to return - click here
Text: Betting guide - click here


COMMENTARY

Villa's matchday coverage has a brand spanking new look - bringing you even closer to the action.

Click here to access the new matchday console.

The all-new matchday console allows supporters to access live audio commentary, live picture action galleries and our popular interactive Villa Live service throughout the game - all in the same place.

Fans can get involved in the build-up to Villa's exciting derby clash against Birmingham City, accessing all the pre-match content, such as the thoughts of Gerard Houllier.

Then attention turns to the big kick-off, by following the action and interacting with web journalists Paul Brown, Dan Harrison and Claire Boden on Villa Live.

Jack Woodward will be on air shortly before kick-off with live audio commentary for AVTV subscribers.

And, when the final whistle blows, the match console will be the first port of call for the best post-match reaction.

Please note, comments on the Villa Live service will be monitored and checked before publication.

If you want to see them appear make sure you keep them clean.

Also, try to keep your comments relevant to the subject - we want to maintain an interesting debate.

Click here to access the new matchday console.


TICKETS

Tickets for the match are SOLD OUT.

However, why not watch the match in the Holte Pub with fellow Villa supporters?

The pub will be open from 11am to 4pm on Sunday, with fantastic food on offer while you soak up the derby day atmosphere.

Breakfast baps will be available from 11am, while a selection of lunch baps will be served later on in the day.

The Holte Pub's excellent carvery will still be available in the upstairs area of the venue.

Make sure you pop along to enjoy a feast of fine foods and thrilling football.


Sheff Utd


FORM GUIDE

Villa earned a convincing FA Cup third round victory at Sheffield United last weekend.

There was a dream debut for Kyle Walker with a goal against his former club, while Marc Albrighton and Stiliyan Petrov made sure of a 3-1 success.

However, Villa's last league outing ended in a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Sunderland, which came courtesy of a late Phil Bardsley goal.

Emile Heskey was sent off, meaning he will miss the Second City derby, as will Ashley Young who saw red against Sheffield United.

Blues also advanced in the FA Cup with a comfortable 4-1 win at Millwall.

However, their Carling Cup semi-final is much more evenly poised after the first leg 2-1 defeat to West Ham in midweek.

League form has been patchy for Alex McLeish's men, who have won just one of their last five top flight clashes.


David Bentley


STAR MAN

David Bentley is in line to make his debut for Blues after completing a move from Tottenham Hotspur this week.

The talented winger has joined on loan until the end of the season and hopes to offer a creative spark for the St Andrew's outfit.

Bentley came through the ranks at Arsenal, with a string of excellent performances in the Carling Cup.

He then had a successful loan spell at Norwich City before Blackburn snapped him up.

Spurs then splashed out for his services and Bentley scored one of the best goals ever seen in a North London derby when Tottenham shared a 4-4 draw with their great rivals.

However, he has found opportunities limited at White Hart Lane over the past 18 months and therefore opted to head out on loan.

Bentley has played for England on seven occasions, with his last outing for the Three Lions coming in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.


Alex McLeish


THE GAFFER

Alex McLeish has presided over a wonderful transformation of Birmingham City since taking over in November 2007.

The Scotsman suffered the initial pain of relegation to the Championship but, after bouncing straight back, Blues now look every bit a Premier League force.

There is no surprise that McLeish has been so successful as a manager being as he learned his trade from a master.

Big Eck played under the great Sir Alex Ferguson at Aberdeen and won a host of trophies, including the European Cup Winners' Cup, European Super Cup and the Scottish Premier League.

More trophies followed as a manager at Rangers for the former Motherwell and Hibernian boss, as he delivered a domestic treble in his second season at Ibrox.

A stint as Scotland's national boss followed when he guided the Tartan Army to the brink of Euro 2008 qualification before their dreams were dashed by a 2-1 defeat to Italy.

Since helping Blues to regroup, McLeish has overseen a record breaking period at St Andrews - including their best league finish in 50 years as well as a 19-game unbeaten home run.


BIRMINGHAM INS AND OUTS 2010-11

IN: Enric Valles (NAC Breda, free), Ben Foster (Manchester United, £6m), Nikola Zigic (Valencia, £6m), Matt Derbyshire (Olympiakos, loan), Alexander Hleb (Barcelona, loan), Martin Jiranek (Spartak Moscow, undisclosed), Jean Beausejour (Club America, £4m), David Bentley (Tottenham, loan).

OUT: Gary McSheffrey (Coventry, free), Gregory Vignal (released), Jared Wilson (released), Lee Carsley (Coventry, free), Artur Krysiak (Exeter, free), Frank Queudrue (released), Christian Benitez (Santos Laguna, free), Marcus Bent (Wolves, loan).


Gabby Agbonlahor


VITAL VILLANS

Villa's king of the derby Gabby Agbonlahor is ready to step up to the plate in the absence of suspended duo Ashley Young and Emile Heskey.

The striker simply loves scoring against rivals Birmingham City.

Agbonlahor's goal in December's Carling Cup quarter-final was the fourth in his last six derbies against Blues - and his third straight strike at St Andrew's.

The Erdington-born speedster has endured a stop-start campaign thus far after a combination of illness and a groin injury kept him on the sidelines.

But he has looked sharp in recent weeks, both as a central striker and in a less familiar role on the wing.

John Carew is also in the frame to make a return, offering Gerard Houllier another option in attack.


HEAD-TO-HEAD

Last six games at St Andrew's:
[01.12.10] Blues 2-1 Villa
[13.09.09] Blues 0-1 Villa
[11.11.07] Blues 1-2 Villa
[16.10.05] Blues 0-1 Villa
[20.03.05] Blues 2-0 Villa
[19.10.03] Blues 0-0 Villa


BIG MATCH FACTS

Arrow BulletVilla have won six and drawn one of their last seven meetings with against Birmingham City in the Barclays Premier League.

Arrow BulletAlex McLeish's team have scored just three goals in their last seven league meetings with Villa.

Arrow BulletThe last time Blues beat Villa in the league, Emile Heskey was on the scoresheet for the St Andrew's outfit.

Arrow BulletGabby Agbonlahor has scored three goals in five league games against Blues, as well as netting in this season's Carling Cup tie between the sides.

Arrow BulletBlues have won just one of their last five at St Andrew's, which was a shock 1-0 victory over Chelsea.

Arrow BulletNo Birmingham striker has found the net in any of their last eight top-flight games.

Arrow BulletVilla have dropped more points (14) from winning positions that any other team this season.

Arrow BulletBirmingham have fired in just 68 shots on target this season, fewer than any other team.

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