Birmingham City could all but condem one of their relegation rivals to the drop this weekend, with a win over bottom of the table Burton Albion at home.
Monk the potential saviour
Things looked bleak for Birmingham just a month ago after they were beaten 2-1 at Nottingham Forest on March 3rd. However, the Blues board acted decisively in their decision to sack Steve Cotterill and very quickly hire Gary Monk. The bold move to go with Monk has payed off after three succesive wins following an opening game loss to Championship high-flyers Cardiff City.
For all his critics, Monk has guided two Championship clubs to just outside the playoff positions, so thoughts that he would struggle at Birmingham were suprising when he can clearly pick up results in this division. Nine points out of a possible 12 has proved this point and his taken the Blues from a relegation spot to now being five points above the drop zone and level on points with Reading and Bolton Wanderers ahead of them, the latter of which they beat 1-0 away on Tuesday night.
Desperate times for Burton
The league table tells the whole story for Nigel Clough's Burton this season, with them rock bottom on 31 points and eight from safety or effectively nine because of a horrific minus 42 goal difference. Even the most fierce and loyal Brewers fans would tell you they're fighting a very tough battle to survive at this level because of the size of the club, and it looks as though they won't be spending a third straight season in the Championship.
Burton have showed a lot of fighting spirit in recent times with home draws against playoff chasing teams such as Bristol City and Middlesbrough, but they've simply not been able to turn these performances into wins after only one victory since the turn of the year. A win on Saturday though would at least bring them within five points of one of three teams they have to finish above with only five games left after this weekend.
Birmingham will be without striker Che Adams for three games after he was shown a straight red card in the win at Bolton.
However, Monk will hope to have forward Sam Gallagher and midfielder Craig Gardner back after hamstring and calf injuries respectively.
Burton will hope to have winger Lloyd Dyer fit after he came off with a knock against Middlesbrough on Monday, Dyer has been involved in Burton's last three goals with two assists and a goal himself.
Former England striker Darren Bent also faces a late assessment due to illness.
The Brewers have won all three league meetings with Birmingham at this level.
Birmingham are looking for four consecutive wins in league competition for the first time since october 2015.
Dyer has scored three goals in as many league games for Burton against Birmingham.