Dan Scarr in action

Birmingham City (A) | Scarr's Preview

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Dan Scarr jumped from non-league Stourbridge to sign for Birmingham in January 2017.

The centre-back was moving to the club that he supported, and looked set to make his EFL debut, at the age of 22, but his time with Blues was beset by injuries and loans out. He ended up making just one appearance, in the Carabao Cup.

Fast forward, though, and Scarr is one of the heartbeats of the Argyle team. The Greens are a Sky Bet Championship club and Dan, in his third season with Argyle, has earned his spot in the second tier as much as anyone.

This Saturday, he will return to St Andrew’s, to face his old side in league action for the first time. He played there for Argyle in an Emirates FA Cup victory in January 2022, which the Pilgrims won 1-0, but this will be a different experience.

City have started the season very well, winning two and drawing one of their three league games. They were taken over in the summer by a new set of owners, and the optimism generated by the takeover, the player recruitment and their start to the season, has brought their fans flooding back.

Unsurprisingly, Scarr is looking forward to heading back to the Second City, and anticipates a challenging afternoon.

“To be with Argyle playing [Birmingham], it's a nice feeling that it's a regular game and not a cup game,” he said. “To be going back as a league game, it's a nice feeling to know we're on par.

“I'm expecting a different team to [the 2022 cup game]. Since the takeover they've had a lot of new players. I still look out for their results, watch their highlights and stuff. I know they're a better team than they were then.

“The takeover’s happened, they've got a good few players in that they’ve actually wanted, and the fans have been buzzing about them.

“They've gone back to the home games, whereas before they were boycotting them slightly. There's a lot of buzz about the place, but it's the same with us. There's a lot of buzz about our place. We've got promoted. We're doing well. The fans sell out home and away. They are only on a par with where we are at.”

Argyle’s last two games have yielded just one point, but surely plenty of confidence, too. A hugely creditable 0-0 draw at Watford was followed by the narrowest of defeats via an injury-time Southampton goal.

Those games came on top of a 3-1 home win against Huddersfield Town, in a trio of fixtures that have proven that Argyle belong at tier two level. Scarr expects the Birmingham test to resemble that of Argyle’s first opponents, but to a higher degree.

“Watford and Southampton’s styles probably suit us a little bit,” he said. “They're looking to play total football. They're expansive, so it does give us opportunities to attack.

“I think [Birmingham] will be a tough game. That'll be one of the tougher tests we've had lately, just because of their style of football, probably.

“It'll be like Huddersfield, but probably better. A bit more direct, but they've also got good footballers.

“I don't think Birmingham give up many opportunities altogether, probably because they don't play as much football. They're probably a bit more solid behind the ball and then they try and use their attackers just to attack.

“I think it'll be a different task, but if we move the ball how we've been moving it, I don't think a lot of teams in the Championship will live with us, at times.”

Scarr has started all of Argyle’s games so far, alongside summer arrival Lewis Gibson, as the two central defenders in a back four. Scarr has been used to playing in a three-at-the-back formation since becoming a Pilgrim, but the tweak to the system last year is something he is not only comfortable with, but relishing.

“I always played in a back four anyway, before I came to Argyle,” said Dan, “so it wasn't something I was new to. I played a three a couple of times in the centre, but I quite like being involved in a four. I feel you're in the action a little bit more when you're on the ball. You've probably got a lot more passing lanes to choose from.

“It's been good. I think the whole of the back four, and the lads in front, we've defended really well. I think we can take positives from it and take that into every game. I think we'll be alright and we'll limit chances. We just need to concentrate and keep working hard.

“I think [Gibson’s] been excellent. He's a solid defender. He talks, which now we're in the Championship, there's runners coming from all angles, midfielders, wingers. There's a lot more people in the box. It's nice to have people around you that talk. He does talk, he's vocal; he's aggressive; he's good on the ball. I think he has started really well.”

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