Mar 29, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​St Andrew's
BirminghamBirmingham City
Macheda (57', 73')
Randolph (28'), Caddis (85')
FT(HT: 0-3)
Ritchie (13'), Grabban (20', 28'), Harte (52')
Grabban (90')

Preview: Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth

Birmingham manager Lee Clark looks on during the match against Watford on August 3, 2013
© Getty Images
Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship clash between Birmingham and Bournemouth at St Andrew's.

Birmingham City handed themselves a timely lifeline with their 3-2 win over Millwall on Tuesday, taking some of the pressure off their home tie against Bournemouth on Saturday.

The victory over the lowly Lions saw them reach the 40-point mark, leaving them eight points clear of the bottom three with just eight matches left to play.

They are by no means safe just yet, a point that manager Lee Clark was keen to stress, but an end to a five-match winless streak, during which time they had picked up just one point, has staved off the immediate threat of being dragged into the mire.

Depending on results elsewhere, another victory against Bournemouth this weekend could lift them up to 18th in the table and all but secure their Championship status.

Winning at St Andrew's has not proved to be easy for the Blues so far this season, however, with no victories in their last 14 league matches in front of their own fans and just two all season.

No side has amassed fewer points at their home ground than Clark's side this season, and they have only beaten League Two's Bristol Rovers in their last 17 matches at St Andrew's in all competitions.

Long-term absentees Neal Eardley and Matthew Green remain out, while Lee Novak and Emyr Huws are also doubtful for the hosts.

Bournemouth, meanwhile, have saved their most consistent performances for the end of the season, stringing together a good run of results that has seen them climb up to 10th in the table.

Just seven points now separate the Cherries from the top six, but they appear to have left a playoff push too late despite winning five and losing just one of their last seven matches.

It has been a successful first season in the Championship for Eddie Howe, who celebrated signing a new contract this week with a comprehensive 4-1 victory over Leeds on Tuesday.

A top-half finish would have been an ambitious goal before the season began, but on current form it looks like Bournemouth will wrap up that target comfortably.

The last five away games involved Bournemouth have ended 1-0, with the Cherries edging three of them and losing the other two. However, three wins from their last four on the road reflects their overall improved consistency.

Yann Kermorgant and Lewis Grabban are once again expected to lead the line for Howe's men, while Charlie Daniels and Elliot Ward remain sidelined through injury.

Recent form

Birmingham: LLDLLW

Bournemouth: WWDLWW

Possible starting lineups

Birmingham: Randolph; Caddis, Packwood, Martin, Robinson; Spector, Reilly; Burke, Ibe, Shinnie; Zigic

Bournemouth: Camp; Francis, Elphick, Cook, Harte; Pugh, Fraser, Surman, Ritchie; Kermorgant; Grabban

Sports Mole says: 1-2

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