STARTING XIs: Hugill back on the bench for City at Birmingham
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Jordan Hugill ends his six-game absence for Norwich City this evening, as he returns to the bench with the Championship leaders naming an unchanged starting XI to face Birmingham (7pm kick-off).
The striker had scored his third and fourth goals of the season during his last league appearance, a 2-0 home win over Bristol City, but then injured his hamstring during the 1-0 loss at Barnsley in the FA Cup fourth round in late January.
He was back in full training last week but head coach Daniel Farke opted not to have him among the substitutes during the 1-0 home win over Rotherham on Saturday, with Adam Idah the only striker on the bench.
Ben Gibson dropped out of that game with a back issue and also misses tonight's game at St Andrew's with that minor issue, with Christoph Zimmermann continuing in central defence alongside Grant Hanley.
Hugill replaces young centre-back Andrew Omobamidele on the bench, with midfielders Alex Tettey and Jacob Sorensen providing the defensive cover against the Blues.
The Canaries pushed seven points clear at the summit at the weekend, to take full advantage of a third consecutive defeat for Brentford.
It was a third win on the spin, following victories over Stoke and Coventry, with Teemu Pukki scoring his 15th goal of the campaign.
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They face a third successive match against a team battling relegation, with Birmingham sat 21st and two points clear of the bottom three.
With Brentford, Watford and Swansea all not in action until tomorrow night, victory would take Norwich 10 points clear, at least temporarily.
Birmingham City v Norwich City: Everything you need to know
The pressure was eased on Birmingham manager Aitor Karanka after a 1-0 away win over survival rivals Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, with the Owls reduced to 10 men early in the second half and Scott Hogan scoring the only goal in the 63rd minute.
That means an unchanged squad for the hosts, with striker Sam Cosgrove missing out with an ankle injury again, who was signed from Aberdeen in January.
That finished a miserable run of 13 games which had featured nine defeats and just one win, 1-0 at Middlesbrough in mid-January.
Birmingham were in the Premier League for seven seasons between 2002 and 2011, also winning the League Cup in 2011, but have been battling against the drop in the past four seasons, having not played in the third tier since 1994-95.
The match is the second game at St Andrew's in seven days for Norwich, as the Blues share their stadium with Coventry, who City beat 2-0 last Wednesday thanks to goals from Pukki and Emi Buendia.
Norwich won the first meeting of the sides 1-0 at Carrow Road in October, with Mario Vrancic coming off the bench to sweep home a winner in the 87th minute.
NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Zimmermann, Hanley (C), Giannoulis; Skipp, McLean; Buendia, Vrancic, Cantwell; Pukki. Subs: Barden (GK), Quintilla, Tettey, Sorensen, Rupp, Dowell, Hernandez, Idah, Hugill
BIRMINGHAM (4-1-4-1): Etheridge; Colin, Dean (C), Clarke-Salter, Pedersen; Sunjic; Sanchez, Harper, Gardner, Bela; Hogan. Subs: Prieto (GK), Roberts, Friend, Valery, San Jose, McGree, Halilovic, Leko, Jutkiewicz
REFEREE: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)
- You can follow all the updates, analysis and reaction from St Andrew's in our Matchday Live blog