Birmingham Vs Hull City, Sat 17 Apr 2010

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Birmingham are boosted by the return of England goalkeeper Joe Hart for the Barclays Premier League clash against Hull at St Andrew's.

On-loan Hart had to sit out last weekend's 5-1 defeat at Manchester City as he was not allowed to face his parent club. He will replace Northern Ireland international Maik Taylor.

Striker Cameron Jerome has had treatment for a back injury this week but is fit to lead the attack.

Spanish midfielder Michel retains his place in the squad after Birmingham were successful in their appeal against his sending-off in last week's reserve team game against Chelsea and he will once again be on the bench.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish has warned that his angry players are out to make Hull suffer after the City thrashing.

They are determined to make amends for their worst result of the season and McLeish hopes that will spell trouble for relegation-threatened Hull.

McLeish said: "The players were annoyed and they will be smarting, particularly the ones at the back.

"But I've seen bigger teams battered before such as Manchester United losing five against Newcastle United a few years ago and they still won the league.

"I remember the way Sir Alex Ferguson flipped that result off his shoulder as if was a bit of dandruff.

"That is the measure of a team which believes in themselves. I think I have fellows who believe in themselves and they know they are better than that.

"To lose five goals with a team which has been quite mean was a surprise.

"We have been strong as a team but at Manchester City there was suddenly a salvo just before half-time which I could not see coming.

"Their top four are electric. Adam Johnson's pace and ability in the wide area was formidable, while the experience of Tevez, Adebayor and Bellamy was frightening.

"But we know we cannot afford to keep shipping goals like we did at Manchester City."

Hull boss Iain Dowie is confident defender Andy Dawson will be fit.

The left-back was carried off during last week's 4-1 defeat by Burnley with a leg injury but tests revealed only bruising.

Midfielder Richard Garcia, though, is definitely out. The Australian suffered a knee problem in training and underwent an arthroscopy.

Stephen Hunt has been ruled out for the season after undergoing further foot surgery this week while defender Anthony Gardner (ankle) has returned to training but will not be considered.

Hull's stand-in captain George Boateng has told his team-mates to learn to deal with the pressure of being in a relegation fight.

Boateng felt the Tigers crumbled under the intensity of the situation against Burnley.

Boateng said: "It was a bad, bad result. We worked so hard in the whole week as a team because we realised nothing but a victory would be good enough.

"Once we conceded an equaliser, I think the pressure of facing relegation in the eye got to most of our players. Therefore we never recovered.

"Previous games in the season, even when we conceded goals, we also picked it up, but after the equaliser we never looked like we were going to score and that was so disappointing."

He continued: "We've had meetings, we've spoken about the importance of staying in the Premier League, what effect it would have on the area, on people working for the club.

"Every day we come into training and they do whatever we ask them, so it would not be fair on those people if we failed to do our job on the field.

"It was a good meeting and everyone, if they didn't already, realises now it's time for men to stand up and be counted. There's no time for flair, now is the time to come out and work as hard as you can."

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Joe Hart
Premier League
Hull City

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