Birmingham City’s sterling home record comes under a different kind of pressure on New Year’s Eve.
After the hard-fought battle of attrition against West Ham United – Blues salvaging a draw thanks to David Murphy’s 81st minute header – Blackpool visit St Andrew’s on Saturday.
Ian Holloway’s side will provide a contrasting test to the more rudimentary style that the Hammers employed.
And if the recent encounters between Blues and the Tangerines are anything to go by, then it promises to be an open, footballing affair.
At the end of last month the 2-2 draw at Bloomfield Road was pulsating stuff.
Holloway described it as a tremendous advert for the Championship.
Despite a wet and blustery day, the sides went at each other and there were thrills and spills galore.
Nikola Zigic grabbed a daintily-executed equaliser in the 87th minute, moments after missing a sitter.
It was that sort of match, very similar to the 2-1 win Blues enjoyed on Blackpool’s patch in the Premier League.
Scott Dann got an 89th minute winner for Blues, who changed their formation, using Aleksandr Hleb behind Cameron Jerome and Matt Derbyshire to match up with Blackpool’s attacking formation.
At St Andrew’s that 2010-11 season, Blues won 2-0 through goals by Liam Ridgewell and Zigic.
Afterwards, Holloway sang the praises of Barry Ferguson, saying he was magnificent and didn’t waste a single pass. No wonder, then, that Holloway targeted Ferguson in the summer.
Blues former Little General is now Blackpool captain and will be making his first return to St Andrew’s since the £750,000 move.
Ferguson was such an influence on Blues last great unbeaten home run, that stretched for 13 months from October 2009.
They went 21 games without loss in all competitions and equalled the best ever top-flight tally of 18, set in 1906-07.
Currently, Blues have won six and drawn four of their Championship outings at St Andrew’s.
They have conceded just five goals on their own soil and leaders Southampton possess the division’s only other unbeaten home record.
Blackpool will look to move Blues about, shift the play quickly from side to side, and commit players forward. They will perform at a high tempo and be positive.
On Boxing Day, after conceding inside three-and-a-half minutes, it was hard going for Blues against West Ham.
But they got a measure of Sam Allardyce’s team in the second-half.
They not only stood up to their physical strength, but became more composed and assured in their passing, and Chris Burke’s wing play began to tell.
Blackpool are perched in seventh spot, five points clear of Blues, who have two games in hand.
They won 3-1 at Barnsley on Boxing Day with Phillips getting a hat-trick no, not that one.
Matt Phillips was the hero, getting his first goals since returning from loan to Sheffield United in November.
Kevin Phillips, like Ferguson another Blues Carling Cup winner who headed to Blackpool in the summer, has been left frustrated on the substitutes’ bench.
Phillips started the first 13 games, and scored six times (he remains top-scorer with seven in total).
But the last of those starts was in October and Super Kev missed Blues visit due to an ankle injury.