Sturridge to start for Chelsea

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has handed Daniel Sturridge his first Premier League start for today's trip to Birmingham.

Sturridge – whose father Michael and uncle Simon are former Birmingham players - getsthe nod in the absence of injured France striker Nicolas Anelka, while Brazilian centre-half Alex replaces Ricardo Carvalho, with the Portugal international among the league leaders’ substitutes.

Birmingham are unchanged for the seventh successive game, with Roger Johnson (knee) and Liam Ridgewell (ankle) recovering from minor knocks suffered in the 1-1 draw at Everton last weekend.

Birmingham: Hart, Carr, Roger Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell, Larsson, Ferguson, Bowyer, McFadden, Jerome, Benitez.

Subs: Maik Taylor, Phillips, Fahey, McSheffrey, Damien Johnson, Carsley, Vignal.

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Terry, Alex, Ashley Cole, Belletti, Mikel, Malouda, Lampard, Drogba, Sturridge.

Subs: Hilario, Carvalho, Joe Cole, Ballack, Zhirkov, Paulo Ferreira, Kalou.

Referee: Peter Walton.

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