Blues short on numbers at the back

Birmingham are facing a central defensive injury crisis ahead of Saturday’s vital Premiership meeting with Mick McCarthy’s Sunderland at St Andrews.

Martin Latka is Bruce’s only available senior centre-back, an he is still adjusting to the demands of top-flight football in England.

Kenny Cunningham, Matthew Upson, Martin Taylor and Olivier Tebily are all injured while manager Steve Bruce’s son Alex is suspended after incurring five bookings.

Taylor has an outside chance of being patched up to play with an ankle problem but rookie Marcos Painter is poised to partner Latka. Bruce is considering giving a first league start to DJ Campbell who last month scored twice for Brentford against the Black Cats in the FA Cup before moving to Blues.

Team (from): Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Latka, Painter, Martin Taylor, Clapham, Gray, Pennant, Johnson, Butt, Clemence, Jarosik, Dunn, Izzet, Lazaridis, Kilkenny, Sutton, Heskey, Forssell, Campbell.


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