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Clark eyes Black Cats scalp

Birmingham CityBirmingham City
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Boss Lee Clark has urged Birmingham to go for the kill against Sunderland and believes they have finally turned the corner.

Blues host the Black Cats, last season's beaten finalists, in the Capital One Cup second round on Wednesday with the manager insisting they are over their struggles, after avoiding relegation from the Championship in May.

Clark helped them Sunderland to promotion to the Premier League in 1999 before joining Fulham that summer after he was spotted wearing an offensive t-shirt which mocked Black Cats fans.

Birmingham, 2011 winners, beat holders Swansea in the competition last season before losing on penalties to Stoke and Clark wants another big effort.

"With my background I'd like to win the game. You want to win it to get into the next round," he said.

"I'm hoping my lads will have a right good go and we'll have another Swansea and Stoke situation where we're putting pressure on the Premier League team.

"We are showing people we're a powerful Championship team. We have to replicate the performances we've had at home."

Clark is without Matt Green and Gavin Gunning (both knee) while Andrew Shinnie (back) is still unavailable.

Sunderland lost 3-1 to Manchester City at Wembley in last season's March final, despite taking the lead through Fabio Borini.

And after their 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Sunday Steven Fletcher insisted confidence is high.

"We're absolutely delighted with the start we've had," he told the club's official website.

"The point against United is a good result, especially after we went a goal behind and it's a good show of character to come back."

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet is likely to hand several of his summer signings a chance at St Andrews with keeper Costel Pantilimon, defender Billy Jones, who has shaken off a hamstring problem, and midfielder Jordi Gomez in line to play as he shuffles his pack.

However, he intends to retain the bulk of the side which drew 1-1 with Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday - a game winger Adam Johnson missed because of illness - with only midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini (groin) unavailable through injury.


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