By Tony Leighton
Birmingham-born Carl Ikeme will be aiming to help send Birmingham City to defeat on Saturday, and not just because he will be in goal for Wolverhampton Wanderers in Saturday evening's televised npower Championship encounter at Molineux.
Ikeme's father Ike is a long-time supporter of Aston Villa and, with no love lost between Villa and their second city rivals, Ikeme senior will be absolutely delighted to see Wolves put one over the Blues.
Keeper Ikeme, who is from the Castle Bromwich area of Birmingham but says he has no allegiance to either of his home town clubs, told football-league.co.uk: "My dad's a big Villa fan so I saw a lot of them when I was growing up.
"But I also had loads of mates who were Blues fans, so I watched them pretty often as well. Maybe that's why I never got drawn to being a true supporter of either club, but I'm definitely a Wolves man now having been here since I was a kid.
"So I'll be more than happy to take three points off Blues, and my dad will be over the moon - and so will all the Wolves supporters, because it's a game that we need to win to start pushing ourselves back up the table."
Wolves slid from third place to 19th in a nine-match winless run that brought them just three points from a possible 27, but they ended their drought with a thumping 4-1 away victory over bottom of the table Bristol City last time out.
Now 26-year-old Ikeme, ever-present this season after making most of his previous first-team appearances during loan spells - nine in all - at a variety of clubs from non-league to Championship level, is confident of a return to winning ways.
"The win at Bristol City can kick-start another good run for us," said the keeper, who has been on Wolves' books since he was 15. "It wasn't just getting the win, it was the manner that we did it in - we could have had six or seven goals, let alone four.
"It was a real return to form and it's given us a great confidence boost. Now we're out for our first home win in a while, although we know it will be tough against Blues because they also bounced back to form with a good win last week."
Birmingham, two places but just one point below Wolves in 19th in the table, beat fourth-placed Middlesbrough last week and will be difficult opposition as the Molineux men look to produce a first home win in over two months.
But after suffering relegation from the Premier League last season, Wolves are determined to bounce back at the first attempt and Ikeme added: "With the quality we've got in our squad there's no reason why we can't get back up there."
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