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Match Preview: Newcastle United FC at Birmingham City FC

I should start by apologizing for the lack of preview/review for the Blackburn game, I had to go out of town for the weekend and only had dial-up internet available.

At any rate Newcastle get to make up the snowed out Birmingham match from right around the half season mark. I was looking forward to the match then and I'm looking forward to it now, because I think Newcastle is a good match for BCFC. On the other hand, Birmingham are in good form of late, unbeaten in their last five games. Still I think NUFC have all the right tools to earn all three points this week.

Unfortunately for Birmingham they are a side that has had some trouble scoring goals (only 25 total this season, 13 at home) that will be facing a good defense. They have found their way above relegation by playing lots of men behind the ball and forcing draws; when they do win in the Prem. it's by one goal, most times one late goal. This style and ability bodes well for United.

Newcastle will continue to struggle with injuries this week. Not one of those lads will be making his return this week, though Steven Taylor and Ryan Taylor (no relation) are both back in training. I haven't heard any news on the Danny Simpson injury, but it didn't even look bad when he came off, so I doubt it will keep him out. Birmingham has no one of great import out of action.

Keys to Victory:

These strikers have to learn how to finish strong. If last week's game taught us anything, it's that we can produce chances galore, but finishing those chances has been iffy of late.

We need keep the Blues from scoring, which I have much more confidence in our ability to do than our ability to score. But, I don't think we should settle for the draw, if we can score one and keep the ball out of our net, well it's sort of obvious what that means.

Dangers for Defeat:

If we let the Blues settle into their gameplan, it could make for the same kind of long frustrating game that we've seen a few times this season.

Prediction: NUFC 2-1 BCFC