Live on Skysports 2: Wed 19.45: Birmingham City are 7/5 at William Hill to see off injury-hit Villa in a Midlands derby quarter final.
Aston Villa travel the short way to St Andrews as Betfred’s 11/5 outsiders and with a number of injuries to his squad, Houllier may not even have the luxury of squad rotation.
The lads stepping in for the likes of Reo-Coker, Petrov, Sidwell, Albrighton and Heskey are performing well, especially Barry Bannan but Villa desperately need to give them some time off. Ireland could step in while Agbonlahor, who has a few goals to his name against Birmingham, is likely to start and is 12/5 to score at any time (Skybet).
However, with Villa winning once away from home all season and travelling for the first time in this cup, Birmingham can capitalise on their fairly solid home reputation and cash in at odds against. Their draw with Brentford last time was hardly inspiring but a stalemate at Man City and a win to nil over Chelsea sees Villa’s goal chances greatly diminished.
Birmingham to win to nil, speculative admittedly, is 11/4 at Paddy Power but the 7/5 at William Hill for them to win in 90 mins is a good offer. The cautious can follow Stan James’ 4/6 about Birmingham to qualify and on a freezing (and snowy) evening, when players naturally move with less fluidity, the goals could suffer – under 2.5 is 3/4 at Betdaq.
The other games sees Ipswich, the only non-Premier team left, a 14/5 chance with to send West Brom away with nothing.
Ipswich’s recent run is 4 straight defeats, culminating in a 4-1 dismantling by Grant Holt and Norwich, does not bode well, especially considering West Brom have just arrested their bad run with a fantastic 4-1 win at Everton. Bet365′s 11/10 on West Brom would seem quite backable.
There could be goals galore here as West Brom have failed to keep a clean sheet in 15 straight games and Ipswich are generous at the back also; 3 goals or more is 10/11 at William Hill and braver sorts could opt for a goal fest of 4 or more goals, a 9/4 chance with Betdaq. Look for Peter Odemwingie to find the net, 11/8 at Coral.