Birmingham manager Garry Monk faces a selection problem in the midfield before his side host promotion hopefuls Swansea tonight.
In the past week, Birmingham have lost two regulars in the centre of the field. Craig Gardner was sent off as Birmingham fell to Middlesbrough and is serving a three match ban, while Cheikh N’Doye secured a loan move to Ligue 1 outfit Angers yesterday.
While Monk still has midfielder’s at his disposal, he will suddenly find his side stretched, and will certainly hope the board can secure a loan signing of a midfielder before the end of August. But until then, Monk has had his hand forced due to his diminishing options.
Birmingham should still feel confident fielding Maikel Kieftenbeld and Gary Gardner in the midfield tonight. Kieftenbeld started in the Blues’ gruelling draw to Norwich in the season opener, and featured again in the League Cup loss to Reading. Although the Dutch player didn’t have his greatest game against Reading, he still seems a guarantee to start tonight.
Gary Gardner has only been in Birmingham just over a week since joining on loan from Aston Villa, and may become a regular under Monk. Tonight should be his first league start, where he could eventually forge a formidable midfield partnership with his brother throughout the season.
The trouble is that after these two, Birmingham look very thin on the ground before Craig Gardner returns from his suspension. However, Monk will only have this problem for a couple of weeks before Craig returns, but it has nonetheless highlighted an issue that may need resolving whilst the loan window remains open.
Birmingham are hunting their first win this season, and fourth place Swansea will be a rigorous test, but Monk will hope that his side will thrive under adversity.