Opposing view: Birmingham City

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IT does not matter who you are, the Europa League always seems to get in the way, WRITES LIAM HODEN.

Birmingham will certainly have been targeting a return to the top flight at the first attempt but their efforts are being undone having played 27 games already due to the European competition.

In contrast, League Cup semi finalists Crystal Palace have played just 24 matches so far.

It is not hard to see why Chris Hughton’s side have demonstrated such patchy form in the first half of the campaign.

Saturday’s visit of Rovers will be their third game in seven days, with last weekend’s trip to Cardiff pushed back to Sunday due to an away day in Braga in midweek.

Quite a few teams have capitalised on tired legs in the Blues’ ranks so far this term and Rovers will look to do the same, three days after Birmingham meet Hull.

Of the teams they have faced so far from the Championship’s top eight, Birmingham have beaten just one.

But the Blues still possess a lot of quality in their ranks for this level.

Their striking ranks are particular impressive with Marlon King, the giant Nikola Zigic and New Zealand hot shot Chris Wood all capable of racking up the goals.

Doncaster’s biggest concern will be breaking down the league’s best home defence.

Birmingham have conceded just three times at St Andrew’s this term but have only managed to net 11 goals in those games themselves.

Last line-up: (4-4-2) Myhill, Carr, Caldwell, Davies, Murphy, Burke, Fahey, Spector, Beausejour, King, Zigic.

One to watch: Chris Wood

Tall New Zealand striker Chris Wood may have gone through a ten match scoring drought in recent weeks but there should be no underestimation of his goal threat.

On loan from West Brom, Wood is continuing his development following a temporary spell at Brighton who he helped fire to the League One title.

Still only 20, a lot more is expected of the Kiwi and Premier League football appears to be in his future.

Wood almost netted a winner for his country against Italy in last year’s World Cup.