Birmingham v Reading. Match preview

Last updated : 20 December 2008 By Angus Muller

The Scotland forward has missed the last three games due to a groin strain but returned to full training at the start of this week, yet whether boss Alex McLeish opts to throw him back in at the deep end remains to be seen.

Winger Sebastian Larsson has also given himself a fighting chance of being fit having missed the last two games with a similar problem, but having only returned at the end of the week he is more of a concern for Blues.

Midfielder Damien Johnson (back) could also get some minutes under his belt having completed his first 90 minutes of the season for the reserves in midweek.

Centre-back Liam Ridgewell will miss the encounter at St Andrew's having picked up his fifth booking of the season during last weekend's 1-0 defeat at Preston.

Winger Gary McSheffrey (knee) and defender Stephen Kelly (thigh) are edging closer to full fitness but are not yet ready, while striker Garry O'Connor has been ruled out for a further six to eight weeks having undergone a groin operation.

Reading winger James Henry is set for a recall.

Henry made his first league start for the Royals against Blackpool 10 days ago but was instantly dropped for the 2-0 win over Norwich last weekend.

However after the youngster came on to play a part in both late goals Coppell admitted there was "a 90% chance" he would start at St Andrews.

He will line up on the right wing as Jimmy Kebe completes a three-match suspension while Michael Duberry is expected to keep his place in defence.

Andre Bikey is back from his own suspension but has a shin injury which could keep him out while Adam Federici will keep his place in goal.

First-choice Marcus Hahnemann is still sidelined with his calf injury but Mikkel Andersen is back from a one-match loan at Brentford and will be on the bench as cover for Federici.

Sporting Life