The second of our 23 previews of each opponent we'll face in the Championship in 2018-19 moves on to Birmingham City...
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2017-18?
A tricky start to the campaign saw the Blues lose six of their first eight games under Harry Redknapp, despite a summer of spending, with the likes of David Stockdale and Jota both joining the club from Brighton and Brentford respectively. And that was enough to signal the end of the Redknapp reign as he left following five successive defeats in mid-September. Steve Cotterill was the man charged with turning Birmingham's fortunes around, but he would only last 27 games and things didn't improve too much from the Redknapp era. Just like Redknapp, a run of five consecutive defeats saw Cotterill depart in March and Garry Monk being appointed, with relegation a real possibility. Fortunately for the Midlands side, Monk oversaw five wins in the final 11 games and the club ultimately survived the drop.
A BIT ABOUT THE BOSS
A relatively new manager, Garry Monk cut his teeth at Swansea City, where he was formerly a long-serving player. Initially taking over the Swans on an interim basis after Michael Laudrup's departure in 2014, Monk kept the Welsh side up and earned the job on a permanent basis at the end of the 2013-14 season. His first full season in charge was hugely successful as he took the club to 8th place in the Premier League with a record points haul and playing some excellent football along the way. But that wasn't to last and after things didn't go to plan at the beginning of the following campaign, Monk was dismissed. But he was back in business in the summer of 2016 as Leeds manager and made former Rovers loanee Marcus Antonsson his first signing as boss. Monk would only spend a season at Elland Road though, and after the club just missed out on the play-offs, he decided to resign and take up the vacant managerial position at Middlesbrough. He lasted just a few months at the Riverside with the team struggling for form and left just before Christmas. As a player, Monk was known for his 10-year spell at Swansea and appeared over 300 times for the club. He also represented the likes of Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford United, Southampton and Torquay United.
WHAT'S THE GROUND LIKE?
Birmingham's home since 1906, St Andrew's houses just under 30,000 supporters. The travelling Rovers supporters will be based in the Gil Merrick Stand, which is located behind one of the goals.
THE LAST TIME WE LOCKED HORNS
Danny Graham grabbed an equaliser after striker Lucas Jutkiewicz had given the visitors an early lead from the penalty spot at Ewood Park in 2017.WHO'S PLAYED FOR BOTH?
There are plenty of former Rovers who have played for Birmingham, including Sam Gallagher and Jason Lowe, who were both with the Midlands side last term. Current Rovers Under-23s pair Damien Johnson and David Dunn are both ex-Blues, as is another midfielder in Robbie Savage. Current Rover Amari'i Bell began his professional career at Birmingham.
Members of the group UB40 - famous for the song Red Red Wine - are Birmingham supporters and so is Goldenballs presenter Jasper Carrott. Another musician, Martin Saunders from The Twang is another Blues fan.