Ian Ward (Lab Shard End)
It's been a bad year for the council with green waste, the Kerslake Review and Trojan Horse, and should colleagues decide it's time for leader Sir Albert Bore to step aside, they may well first look to the shrewd deputy to step up for the top job. That is if he can be persuaded to go for it.
Before that, however, he must face down an expected assault from UKIP in his Shard End seat. They came within 37 votes of unseating his cabinet colleague John Cotton in the same ward earlier this year and will be looking to claim a high profile scalp.
Matt Bennett (Conservative)
As a senior councillor during the dying days of Lord Whitby's Tory-Lib Dem administration, Mr Bennett was responsible for children's services. As Conservative candidate for Edgbaston ward he is favourite to return to the city council after a three year absence.
Not only will he take the seat of the retiring councillor James Hutchings, but is also likely to assume his role as Conservative spokesman on children, young people and families. Given his experience in this area and the very particular problems facing the authority I expect this very able politician to make an immediate impact.
Jess Phillips (Lab Longbridge)
An outspoken member of the Labour group, her politics and day job with Women's Aid are closely linked through her strong advocacy of victims of crime, in particular domestic violence.
But it is in her role as candidate for John Hemming's Yardley seat that Coun Phillips could have the greatest impact. According to the most recent poll Mr Hemming has a narrow lead as well as the advantage of incumbency. A victory in the marginal seat could be crucial in easing Labour leader Ed Miliband towards No.10, blow it and his chances could be sunk.
Darren Cooper (Lab Sandwell Soho and Victoria)
It may seem odd for the leader of Sandwell Council to appear on a list of influential Birmingham politicians, but his leading role in the new combined authority could prove crucial for Birmingham and the wider West Midlands' chances of securing further devolution from Whitehall.
With the likes of Coun Cooper at the forefront, the combined authority will go some way to challenging the fear that the mighty Birmingham will dominate and make a strong deal more likely.
Penny Holbrook (Lab Stockland Green)
A newcomer to the council cabinet, she has settled in to her fresh role in charge of culture and skills. She has a key position in the current set up – the council's policy focus is on delivering training and equipping the citizens of Birmingham, particularly young people, with the skills needed to grasp new job opportunities.
She is popular in the Labour group and an effective politician, stepping into the limelight to handle the difficult announcement of cuts to the Library of Birmingham.
Gareth Moore (Con Erdington)
A close ally of Conservative leader Robert Alden, he was among a number of relative youngster to join the council in the 2011 election intake - some of those on the Labour side achieved high office quite quickly.
But Coun Moore has learned his craft in the more difficult opposition setting. Recently he has been taking a more prominent role in the group and has proved an effective performer in both thecouncil chamber and more importantly committees, particularly licensing. He is also not expected to have too much trouble defending his Erdington seat this year.