It's a sign of how fast things can change in football that just four years ago, neither Huddersfield Town nor Birmingham fans would have imagined their sides meeting in anything other than a cup-tie.

Blues were holding their own in the Premier under Alex McLeish while Town were fighting to get out of League I under Lee Clark.

Now Clark is battling to steer his side away from trouble at the foot of the Championship while Town are aiming to establish themselves a solid second-tier force.

Tomorrow’s is a key clash for both Clark, still seeking his first win over Town since departing in February 2012, and Mark Robins .

Despite some decent displays, victories have been as hard to come by for Robins as Clark in recent times.

It’s just two in the last 10 league games for each, although Robins was smiling after the Leeds derby a fortnight ago while Blues have gone four without a victory.

Town, in 14th, aim to build on that 3-2 success over their neighbours in their last John Smith’s Stadium outing, and are well capable of doing that.

But they certainly aren’t being helped by the absence of 11-goal top scorer James Vaughan, who at least completes his three-match ban tomorrow.

 

Martin Paterson, the closest thing to a like-for-like Vaughan replacement, is recovering from a hand injury and is out of favour in any case.

Midfielder Adam Clayton and defender Anthony Gerrard have also been left out of the last two matches, while Town have a question mark over midfielder Jonathan Hogg (knee).

It’s certainly a test of the depth and versatility of the squad, but Leeds were overcome, and beating Blues would be a big boost ahead of the latest international break.

Clark, who has both Terry McDermott and Steve Watson on his management team , as he did at Town, is dealing with a tough situation in the second city.

Blues are in limbo financially, with owner Carson Yeung’s assets frozen and in the middle of a Far East court case over money- laundering charges.

And Clark has lost quality players like keeper Jack Butland, defender Curtis Davies and midfielder Nathan Redmond.

His signings have been on frees, like ex-Town striker Lee Novak , or on loan, but Blues still have some experienced men and have pulled off some good results.