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Birmingham Face Daunting Challenge at Stamford Bridge

Birmingham City are entering a tough period in their campaign and are sitting very close to the relegation places ahead of a trip to Chelsea.

A win over Sunderland last time out mean they are sitting five points clear of the bottom three, but four of their remaining six games are away from home and Birmingham (14/1 with bookmakers to beat Chelsea) have only won two games on the road all season.

Not many people would give Alex McLeish's side much chance to win at Stamford Bridge, or in their next game away at Liverpool. Indeed ahead of this Chelsea clash, the records show Birmingham not won a Premier League away fixture on a Wednesday in 11 previous attempts.

They face a Chelsea (2/9 to win the game) side who are on a seven-match Premier League unbeaten run and are only two points behind Arsenal in the race to catch Manchester United. The omens are not good for the travelling Brum fans as Chelsea have never lost a Premier League game to Birmingham at Stamford Bridge.

McLeish's side registered a shock win over Chelsea earlier in the season and that win was the side's only victory in the last 18 meetings between the teams.

Birmingham have also failed to score in five of their last seven league matches against Chelsea and the burden to break that run is likely to fall to Cameron Jerome (16/1 to score the first goal at Stamford Bridge) and Kevin Phillips.

Those two started the Sunderland win and look set to retain their places, with Nikola Zigic sidelined with a groin injury and Matt Derbyshire yet to break his Premier League duck for the Blues.

McLeish can welcome Jean Beausejour back into the squad after he recovered from a hamstring strain but Scott Dann, Martin Jiranek, Obafemi Martins and James McFadden all remain out injured.

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has to do without Ramires and Alex through hamstring injuries, while Branislav Ivanovic faces a late fitness test on a muscle strain.

Fernando Torres could start for Chelsea after he was dropped to the bench for the win at West Brom at the weekend. Ancelotti tends to rotate the Spaniard, Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, so Torres (7/2 to score the first goal) might get a chance to break his goalscoring duck for the club.

So tight is the bottom half of the Premier League that Birmingham could rise to tenth if they get a shock win at Stamford Bridge and give themselves an eight-point cushion to those dreaded relegation places.

However, history is not on their side and Chelsea will be fighting to finish as high up as possible, so it could be a long evening for the travelling defence.

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