Leicester City vs Birmingham City Preview: Foxes look to continue Wembley dream
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 25: Halil Dervisoglu of Brentford is challenged by James Justin and Wes Morgan of Leicester City during the FA Cup Fourth Round match between Brentford FC and Leicester City at Griffin Park on January 25, 2020 in Brentford, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Leicester City will turn their attention away from their poor Premier League form on Wednesday night as they look to advance to the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup against SkyBet Championship side Birmingham City.

The Foxes' 1-0 defeat to Norwich City last Friday extended their winless run of games to five whilst Pep Clotet's side have had a rather contrasting run of form, and are currently unbeaten in their last 13 games.

With an all-Midlands affair set to take place at the King Power Stadium on Wednesday , both teams will be in search of a victory that can see them move to within one game of a day out under the arches at Wembley Stadium.

Key Battle

Leicester's Demarai Gray will go up against his boyhood club for the first time since leaving the Blues in 2016 and will no doubt see this game as an opportunity to force his way back into manager Brendan Rodgers' plans.

Gray hasn't featured since the defeat to Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup Semi-Final Second leg however a strong performance could help reignite his Leicester career.

Lukas Jutkiewicz is likely to lead the line for the travelling Birmingham and could prove to be a handful for the Leicester City backline.

With 13 league goals to his name so far, the bullish centre forward can score all types of goals and proven threat in the attacking third of the pitch.

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Team News

Leicester boss Rodgers has confirmed that striker Jamie Vardy will not be considered for selection due to an ongoing calf injury.

Vardy sat out the surprise defeat to Norwich on Friday but is expected to return on Monday night when Leicester face Aston Villa.

Fringe players such as Danny Ward, James Justin and Mark Albrighton could all come into the starting line-up whilst there could also be a debut for Ryan Bennett who has yet to feature since his deadline day loan move from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Birmingham will be without Jacques Maghoma and Josh McEachran for the short trip to the East Midlands with the duo both out injured.

Scott Hogan has been in red-hot form since arriving on loan from Aston Villa and should also be in contention for a start whilst the highly-rated youngster Jude Bellingham will be rested for the clash.

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Predicted Line-Ups

Leicester City: Ward; Justin, Morgan, Bennett, Fuchs; Choudhury, Ndidi; Gray, Perez, Albrighton; Iheanacho.

Birmingham City: Camp; Colin, Dean, Roberts, Pedersen; Crowley, Gardner, Sunjic, Montero; Hogan, Jutkiewicz.

Previous Meeting

This will be the first meeting between the sides for six years in all competitions where Nigel Pearson's Foxes emerged as 2-1 winners at St Andrews.

Lloyd Dyer​ ​​​​​​opened the scoring after 24 minutes before former England striker Vardy made it two seven minutes from time after a superb counter-attack.

Peter Lovenkrands halved the deficit in the 90th minute but it was only a consolation goal as Leicester left the West Midlands with all three points in a season where they would win the SkyBet Championship.

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Managers' Thoughts

Leicester boss Rodgers has called for his players to play at a higher intensity after a poor performance in their last outing.

He said: "We haven’t been as consistent as what we would like.

"This period until the end of the season is about unity. There’s no doubt we can play better. We have to improve our intensity.

"That’s something we’ve looked at and spoken about since our last game.We need to be faster and the ball needs to be circulated quicker. We need to get into attacking positions more often."

Birmingham manager Pep Clotet meanwhile is looking forward to facing higher level opposition.

Clotet said: "It is going to be very tough – they are one of the best teams in the Premier League at the moment, but it’s going to be an FA Cup game.

“It is going to be a good test for, we have nothing to lose, we believe in ourselves, we will make it very, very difficult for them and hope to get to the next round.

“But obviously we know the level we are playing against.”