Birmingham v Norwich preview
Last Updated: 03/08/18 11:08am
Birmingham head into the new season under a transfer embargo with their only signing Kristian Pedersen in limbo.
The left-back signed from Union Berlin in June but the EFL have not allowed Blues to register him.Isaac Vassell remains out as he continues to recover from a serious knee injury which has sidelined him since October.
The forward is another month away from returning and has not played in any pre-season friendlies.
Norwich may hand debuts to Jordan Rhodes, Tim Krul and Ben Marshall. Striker Rhodes, on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, is expected to shrug off an ankle knock he suffered against Luton last month.
Teemu Pukki and Felix Passlack are also new options for the Canaries but Emiliano Buendia is unlikely to start given his lack of pre-season action. Carlton Morris (knee) is likely to be out for the season and long-term absentee Matt Jarvis (ankle) remains sidelined.
Birmingham have lost each of their last three league matches against Norwich without scoring a single goal.
Birmingham City and Norwich City have met on the opening day just once before, 50 years ago - Norwich won 2-1 at St. Andrew's with goals from Hugh Curran and John Manning in August 1968.
Birmingham have failed to score in four of their last five opening day matches (W1 D1 L3), including each of their last two against Cardiff in 2016-17 and Ipswich last season.
Norwich have managed just one win in their last 15 attempts on the opening day of the season (D7 L7), a 4-1 away win at Blackburn Rovers in 2016-17.
This is the fourth consecutive season that current Birmingham City manager Garry Monk is taking charge of a different club on the opening day (Swansea in 2015-16, Leeds in 2016-17, Middlesbrough in 2017-18 and Birmingham in 2018-19).
Norwich won none of their last eight away Championship matches in 2017-18 (P8 W0 D5 L3), losing 5-1 to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on the final day of the season.
Two sides meet at St Andrew's and both will be hoping for far better this campaign. Birmingham just about stayed up last season while Daniel Farke will know he needs more than just a mid-table finish with Norwich.
Birmingham haven't been able to bring anyone in and Norwich have suffered a big loss with the departure of James Maddison. This has the feeling of an opening-day draw to me.
David Prutton predicts: 0-0 (15/2 with Sky Bet)