Birmingham City are on shorter odds for relegation (9/1) than for promotion (22/1). Our odds are shorter for relegation and longer for promotion. One of their fans writing in Four Four Two reckons they will finish sixth, commenting 'It will take a monumental effort to be in contention for promotion.' The top forecastimg magazine has them coming in 7th.
Most commentators think that they will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season and that is a measure of the test facing Charlton on Saturday. In addition, the Blues have a good home record.
At the end of last season the achievements of Chris Hughton had created a mood of optimism at St.Andrews, notwithstanding financial troubles with the club's leading shareholder facing money laundering charges in Hong Kong. It was felt that with a few additions, the team could be in the frame for automatic promotion.
But then Hughton went off to Norwich. Replacement Lee Clark deserved better for his efforts at Huddersfield and merits being in a Championship management berth.
Players like Curtis Davies, Steven Caldwell, Chris Burke and Marlon King give the side a spine that many clubs would like to have. Over the summer Peter Lovenkrands and Hayden Mullins have been brought in, along with Darren Ambrose from Palace. Ambrose never seemed to be able to quite do it for us at The Valley and was regularly accused by the Bloke Behind Me of being a 'powder puff'. No doubt he will score against us on Saturday.
Keeper Jack Butland who impressed in Team GB in the Olympics has not yet played for the Blues, but will be hard to get past. Player to watch is Nathan Redmond, a home grown youth product and a fans' favourite. The 18-year old winger is in the England Under 19 squad and burst on to the scene last season, scoring seven goals in 37 games.
It seems that some of Birmingham's fans are maintaining their traditional standards of hospitality with allegations on Twitter that a Barnet coach was bricked after their 5-1 defeat on Tuesday. However, Paul May will be braving the mean streets to bring you a report on Saturday.
This looks like a 2-1 defeat to me, hopefully not by a bigger margin. Lee Clark had the reputation of being a draw specialist at Huddersfield, but he will be motivated to pull off a good win in his first home league game.
Grumbling so far has focused on the supposed upheavals of the boardroom, but no doubt the focus will soon switch to the pitch. Our start to the season is not an easy one.