It has been a testing few weeks for new Birmingham manager Gianfranco Zola, but he can at least turn his attentions away from their faltering Championship campaign this weekend.

The former West Ham and Watford boss took over from the sacked Gary Rowett on December 14, but has since led his side to just one draw and three defeats in his four games in charge.

It has meant that they have fallen from seventh the day before Rowett was relieved of his duties to 13th in the table, and seven points off the top six.

Unsurprisingly, the former Chelsea striker is already under pressure to turn things around at St Andrew’s, even more so given the harsh nature of Rowett’s sacking, and it doesn’t get much easier for the Birmingham boss as they host Newcastle in the third round of the FA Cup this weekend.

Rafa Benitez’s side are second in the Championship having won 17 of their 25 league games, although they have suffered two defeats in their last three games, including their latest against Blackburn Rovers.

Nonetheless, the Magpies will be confident of knocking the Blues out of the competition, although Zola will know that he really needs a win soon to help relieve some of the pressure on his shoulders.

Given both clubs played twice in the space of a few days earlier this week, they are likely to make changes, so here are THREE Birmingham players who deserve a chance against Newcastle on Saturday…

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