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Interviews

INTERVIEW: Mark Robins Birmingham City Preview

The Gaffer looking forward to the weekend's clash...

24 January 2020

Sky Blues boss Mark Robins said this weekend’s FA Cup clash with Birmingham City is one for supporters to look forward to.

City entertain Birmingham at St Andrew’s in the Fourth Round of the competition in a unique tie, which will see the stadium support split in half with both fans receiving over 9,000 tickets each.

Speaking ahead of the game this weekend, Robins told how it will be interesting to see how his side fare when they come up against Blues.

He said: “It’s a game to look forward to and I think when you play in any FA Cup tie it’s different, it’s a different feel although the weeks been very similar in many ways.

“You’ve got a set of circumstances that I imagine are very unique certainly in the FA Cup but when you’re playing against a team that’s got Championship players in it it’s always interesting and for me it’s really interesting to see how we fare against an opponent from the Championship.

“The divisions are different, totally different. You look at the records of the team that went up last season, Luton ran away with it and they’re bottom of the league, so there’s a significant difference.

“It’s a tough, tough division and there’s power and pace in every team in that league, it’s a different league without a shadow of a doubt. That’s the interest for me, as we can we see where we are.”

The unique affair will see the Sky Blues head into the game as the home side, occupying the home dressing room, dugouts etc.

With Birmingham situated in the away dressing rooms, Robins believes it should have no effect on the way Pep Clotet’s side will play or handle the fixture.

“We’re used to looking across the pitch and seeing supporters over there or to the right of us if there’s an away following of any note, so it’s going to be a slightly different atmosphere I would imagine, more raucous but one I’m hoping the supporters will enjoy, both sets.

“It’s about entertainment but it’s also about trying to get through the FA cup tie.

“We play every game away from home and I noted their managers comments and Pep had said that we’re the home team and it’s ridiculous.

“But, from our point of view they’ve (Birmingham) showed a lot of class, they’ve looked after us brilliant and we should be, and we are very grateful and will be for a long time to come.

“They’ve enabled us to fulfil our fixtures this season and that shouldn’t be forgotten, but this is a game of football and we’re all competitors and we want to try and get through.”

Birmingham head into the game on the back of a Tuesday night trip to Middlesbrough, in which they were unlucky not come away with all three points in injury time.

In yesterday’s pre-match press conference, Clotet said he was going to field his strongest side available, but Robins still isn’t sure on what kind of side he can expect to face.

“They’ve got a really good set of players and in Jude Bellingham they’ve got one of the best if not the best sixteen year old I’ve ever seen, you only realise when you start to analyse them and their team the players what they’ve got and Bellingham’s one of the best, he’s a stand out.

“They’re big and powerful but you don’t know who’s going to play. Pep’s said he’s going to play the strongest team available to him but clearly, they’ve got other fish to fry as well and it depends on what he thinks and what he sees in us.

“Clearly, they’ll want to get through as well and progress as far as they possibly can do, but for me it’s about us and playing against what we’d probably consider to be their full hit and if things are different we can adjust, but it’s about us, we can’t do anything about what they’re going to do or second guess it really so it’s about us and seeing if we can cause an upset.”


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