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Birmingham City v West Ham semi-final second leg preview

Birmingham City must overcome a one-goal deficit after the first leg to make their first cup final in 10 years. Alex McLeish's side went down 2-1 at Upton Park and need a result at St Andrews if they are to remain in contention to win their first trophy since 1963.

Both of the teams are struggling in the Premier League, but West Ham are a different proposition when it comes to cup competitions. They have won every single one of their six cup games so far this season, compared to only four wins in the league campaign.

Birmingham have not won at St Andrews since their quarter-final victory over Aston Villa at the beginning of December and they need to bounce back from their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United at the weekend.

The Blues have drawn 11 of their 22 matches so far this season but will need a win to make it successfully to the Wembley showpiece and secure a meeting with either Arsenal or Ipswich. They have only lost two of 11 games at St Andrews since the start of the campaign and are 11/10 to get a win on Wednesday night.

They will be without on-loan midfielder David Bentley as he played for parent club Spurs in an earlier round, while McLeish could give a striking start to Cameron Jerome. The Scottish manager said earlier this week reports of him selling Jerome were "madness" and the striker is 13/2 to get the first goal in the semi-final.

West Ham are struggling with a striking problem as they look to preserve their 2-1 advantage from the first leg. Victor Obinna and Frederic Piquionne are both suspended for the semi-final second leg and manager Avram Grant is pinning his hopes of Carlton Cole to recover in time to be able to play.

Freddie Sears, Zavon Hines and Frank Nouble are the only other attacking options available to the under-fire manager as he aspires for another Wembley trip – Grant led Portsmouth to the FA Cup final last season and his West Ham side are priced at 13/5 to win the second leg.

Birmingham fans will be praying that McLeish can ensure his players do not suffer a hangover from their thrashing at Old Trafford as this semi-final provides the Blues with a great opportunity to make it to a showpiece final.

The boss remains convinced morale has not taken a battering and his players will be raring to go on Wednesday night.

"We have a bunch of players who will bounce back well," McLeish said. "There is evidence today they have that in their locker.

"People will say taking this drubbing will affect their confidence, but that is not the feeling I got from senior players in the dressing room."

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