Bannan: It’s a massive game for us against Birmingham

Captain Barry Bannan has talked of a “massive game” at Hillsborough tomorrow when we tackle fellow strugglers Birmingham in a relegation six-pointer.

Bannan is delighted to have signed a new contract this week, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2023, and the focus now turns firmly on the showdown with Brum, as we also look for a sixth successive home league win.

Bannan, who used to play for Birmingham’s rivals Aston Villa, said today: “It’s a massive game. If we can win, it gives us a bit of breathing space.

“There are a lot of points to play for and both teams need to win it. We are both fighting for our lives and hopefully we will come out on top. Hopefully we can build on our home form.”

We go into the game one point from the safety zone in 22nd place and on 28 points, ahead of Birmingham on goal difference and in the knowledge that a win would take us three points clear of them and with a game in hand. They have plummeted to one place off the bottom of the table after just a single win in their last 13 Championship matches.

We have no further injury problems following the disappointing midweek defeat at Stoke but Massimo Luongo (thigh) and Andre Green (achilles) will not be available, along with longer-term absentees Moses Odubajo and Joost van Aken.

Of the other sides in the scrap for Championship survival, Rotherham are one place and one point ahead of us and travel to leaders Norwich tomorrow while Coventry, who sit three points clear of Wednesday, have a lunchtime kick off at home to Brentford. Paul Warne’s side have a game in hand on us but we have the reverse situation with the Sky Blues.

Above Coventry, we find Forest and Huddersfield on 33 points – Forest entertaining Blackburn tomorrow while Huddersfield face Swansea at home, ourselves also having a game in hand on the pair.

One point ahead of them, and six in front of us, are Derby who lost 2-1 at Watford this evening while bottom club Wycombe, who trail Wednesday by nine points, are away at Millwall tomorrow.

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