After last night’s surprise at Upton Park in the Carling Cup completely putting paid to predictions of the top four sides going for it in the competition, tonight’s ties might be a little easier to forecast – if only the fact that they’re between teams who are a lot more equal in terms of league status. Don’t let that fool you into expecting a certain result though. One of the game features a particularly fierce local derby with the other a Championship side hosting one from the top flight.
The game dubbed the “second city derby” gets its second airing of the season as Birmingham City host Aston Villa, unless it’s victim to the swathes of snow affecting the UK. Both these sides will fancy themselves for a semi-final place and maybe even a shot at Europe should they get a favorable draw in the next round.
Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has already called on fans to create an intimidating atmosphere at St Andrews so expect everything from flares, snowballs, and maybe even a Chicken Balti being thrown onto the pitch. The sight of a naked streaker may be more intimidating than all of that though. The small queue of volunteers should gather at the main gates by 6pm for assessment.
Roy Keane’s Ipswich will be attempting to create a similar atmosphere against West Brom. This will likely provide one of the semi-final losers so there’s not a massive amount on the game. If you are looking for a giant-killer though, look no further than this clash.