Villa aim for St Andrew’s success

A second city derby between Birmingham City and Aston Villa is the pick of Wednesday evening’s two Carling Cup quarter-finals.

The other game sees the only club from outside the Premier League left in the competition, Ipswich Town, play host to West Bromwich Albion.

Tensions are sure to be high at St Andrew’s, as the Blues seek to prevent local rivals Villa from reaching a second successive final, having lost out to Manchester United at Wembley last season.

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City edged above Villa in the league table as a result of a 1-1 weekend draw with Fulham, but both sides are currently in the wrong half of the standings and are too close to the relegation places for comfort.

Alex McLeish’s men appear to have improved in recent weeks, having drawn with Manchester City and beaten Chelsea before heading to Craven Cottage.

Their progress in the Carling Cup has been far from impressive, as they needed a last-minute equaliser and a penalty shoot-out to see off Brentford in the last round.

Villa have lost their last two league games to Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal, having needed extra-time to see off Burnley 2-1 in the last round of this competition.

Earlier this season the two sides played out a goalless draw at Villa Park in a league encounter.

Meanwhile, at Portman Road, West Brom will be hoping to avoid a shock at the hands of Championship side Ipswich.

The Tractor Boys will be eager to bounce back after a 4-1 derby drubbing at Norwich City on Sunday, but a run of four straight league defeats suggests that all is not well within Roy Keane’s squad.

Town have had to do things the hard way to reach the quarter-finals, winning away ties at Exeter City, Crewe Alexandra and Millwall, before beating Northampton Town 3-1 at home in the last round.

Albion head to East Anglia bouncing after a 4-1 league win at Everton, a result which ended a worrying run of five league games without a victory.

Roberto di Matteo’s side have made a solid start to life back in the top-flight and have impressed in the Carling Cup, winning 2-1 at home to Manchester City in round three before a 4-1 triumph at Leicester City in the last 16.

Last season’s league meeting of these two sides at Portman Road ended 1-1, with Chris Brunt netting a last-minute leveller for the visitors.