Birmingham City face match No.2 of their pre-season tour of Austria this evening (6pm).
FC Augsburg, of Germany’s second-tier, are the opponents at the Waldstadion in Westendorf; a ground that Birmingham could class as ‘home’ territory given that the Austrian village is their base this week.
This evening’s opposition are likely to pose a lesser challenge to Alex McLeish’s squad than Bundesliga giants VfB Stuttgart did during a 2-0 defeat at Zell am See, 75km from Westendorf, on Monday.
Goalkeeper Colin Doyle and striker Marcus Bent, who both played no part against Stuttgart, are likely to be given a run out.
However the match is still likely to be too early for new centre-half Scott Dann, who is still overcoming a summer operation to remove loose bone in his knee.
Whereas McLeish opted to use a 4-5-1 formation, with Cameron Jerome and then Garry O’Connor acting as a lone frontman, on Monday evening, the Birmingham manager is likely to revert to a more familiar 4-4-2 line-up against Augsburg.
Keith Fahey hobbled off clutching an ice pack in the 58th minute against Stuttgart but the Irish midfielder is only believed to have suffered a slight abductor problem that doesn’t appear to be too serious.
Meanwhile McLeish has dismissed suggestions that he has made a £4 million bid for Reading winger Stephen Hunt.
National newspaper reports had suggested that the Republic of Ireland international was being lined up to be Birmingham’s ninth summer signing after the Royals dropped their initial asking price of £5 million.
However McLeish scotched: “It’s not true. I am not about to sign anybody at the moment. We’ve got to count our pennies and I don’t really want to talk about players at other teams or I might get into trouble with the authorities.”
Aston Villa’s England Under-21 international Craig Gardner remains a top midfield target for McLeish, but finances may now prove to be a problem for the Scotsman.
n? Former Villa winger Darius Vassell has joined Turkish Super Lig outfit Ankaragucu on a free transfer following his release by Manchester City.