Preview- Birmingham City v Barnet (Capital One Cup First Round)
Birmingham City will be taking the cup very seriously as they open their 2012/13 campaign against Barnet tonight. The Blues’ lifted the Carling Cup in 2011, while under the leadership of Alex McLeish, and new boss Lee Clark believes that memories of that final can be an inspiration.
Captain Stephen Carr is being assessed throughout the course of the day after he was taken off as a precaution against Royal Antwerp in Saturday’s friendly, but they won’t have problems to fill the gap as Jonathon Spector, Ben Gordon and Will Packwood can all fill the possible void.
Just 18 months ago, Obafemi Martins’ late winner won the cup for Blues against Arsenal. Since then, the club have declined massively after being relegated that season and missing out on promotion last season. Although popular manager Chris Hughton departed for Norwich City, Blues have kept hold of their star players. Only Jordon Mutch has been sold this summer so far. There was a lot of interest in Chris Burke, Curtis Davies, Marlon King and Nathan Redmond, but the club have stood firm, believing that these players can lead them to a second crack at promotion.
Thinking back to that cup final still makes the hairs on my neck stand on end. Not only did my beloved Birmingham City win the cup, they deserved it against a Champions League side. If we can replicate anything near that again, I and every other fan will be happy.
A low crowd of around 7-8,000 is expected at St Andrews tonight as the League Cup continues its “unfashionable” image. But winning this cup can make a fan happy for the rest of his life, as I will be every time I think back to February 2011.
The main task for both of these sides going into tonight’s battle is to be in the hat for the second round.