Chelsea's JosE Mourinho famously handed a huge dossier on Scunthorpe to his players ahead of last year's FA Cup tie; Birmingham City's Eric Black believes his players will similarly prepared for tonight's Carling Cup second round match at Glanford Park.

The preparation, regardless of the level of opposition, remains thorough.

Scunthorpe gave Chelsea a scare before losing at Stamford Bridge, but they have since won promotion to League One and started this season like an express train.

They slipped to their first defeat of the campaign on Saturday [a 3-1 defeat to Doncaster] and Black has seen enough of Brian Laws' men to know it will be a stern test for Birmingham unless they play at full throttle.

They will take a fullstrength team to Glanford Park however, they have once again been blighted by injuries and have added four young players to the squad.

Neil Kilkenny, Samuel Oji, Peter Till and Marcos Painter

could all get a chance to stake their claim, as Jamie Clapham (virus) is the latest addition to the list of absentees.

Jiri Jarosik and Nicky Butt will also miss a fixture that Black sees as a crucial opportunity to give Birmingham's fragile confidence a lift.

"Winning games is the only way to breed confidence and this is an opportunity to go on a good cup run," said Black.

"We have prepared in exactly the same way we would have if we were playing against Arsenal. We have watched them three times and gave the players all the necessary information yesterday morning at training.

"We know what type of team they are and where their main threat comes from. We certainly haven't diluted our preparations in any way.

"Teams from a lower league tend to up their performance a minimum of one level when they play against clubs from a higher division.

"If we don't play at our maximum then that gap becomes very small and that is why it is vital we play at exactly the same tempo as we would do in a Premiership game.

"We need to show the same intensity and controlled aggression, otherwise it could be a very difficult evening.

We certainly don't want to be embarrassed."

Steve Bruce's squad is showing signs of wear and tear and, while that may be good news for the club's Academy graduates, it will surely strengthen the manager's hand when he asks the board for more funds in January.

If they pick up any more injuries or suspensions as a result of this cup-tie then they will look awfully threadbare for the visit of the European champions on Saturday.

Kilkenny is the most likely candidate to make his senior debut, as Birmingham's midfield has been decimated by suspension and injuries.