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Mar 6, 2021 at 3pm UK at Oakwell Stadium
BarnsleyBarnsley
1-0
BirminghamBirmingham City
Dike (49')
Halme (77'), Mason (90+4')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Friend (33'), Harper (72')

Preview: Barnsley vs. Birmingham City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Barnsley and Birmingham City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barnsley play host to Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon looking to extend their six-match winning streak in the Championship.

While the Tykes have moved into contention for the playoffs, Blues remain just three points above the drop zone despite collecting seven points from four games.


Match preview

Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael pictured on February 11, 2021© Reuters

For every week that Barnsley spend in the race for the top six, hope is turning to expectation for the club's supporters as they begin to dream about an unlikely return to the Premier League.

Valerien Ismael and his squad will relish the opportunity to remain as underdogs in competition with clubs who have budgeted for promotion to the top flight.

Nevertheless, six successive wins, the latest coming against Queens Park Rangers in midweek, has put the Tykes within three points of fifth spot.

Barnsley scored three goals at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, their best return since the end of October.

Carlton Morris and Daryl Dike have now contributed six goals since their January arrivals, keeping them as potential difference-makers come the end of the campaign.

Birmingham City's Marc Roberts celebrates after scoring their first goal against Huddersfield Town on March 2, 2021© Reuters

As far as Birmingham are concerned, they make their second trip to Yorkshire in the space of a week after claiming a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night.

Aitor Karanka would have expected more against opponents who have lost their way since the turn of the year, but it represented another point claimed from a losing position.

There could have been few complaints with the Spaniard's team selection after he recalled playmaker Alen Halilovic to his starting lineup, a reward for the Croatian's sublime winner against QPR at the weekend.

However, with Rotherham United just three points behind Blues with two matches in hand, Karanka may have to reconsider his plans now that the club are a defeat away from dropping back into the relegation zone.

Barnsley Championship form: WWWWWW

Birmingham City Championship form: LLWLWD


Team News

Birmingham City manager Aitor Karanka pictured on January 10, 2021© Reuters

Despite having an extra day of recovery, Karanka may still look to make changes to his Birmingham side.

Gary Gardner could be preferred to Rekeem Harper, while Jonathan Leko and Scott Hogan are alternatives in the final third of the pitch.

Barnsley boss Ismael is expected to rotate for Saturday's game, bringing in the likes of Michael Sollbauer and Morris.

Herbie Kane is also an option in midfield if Ismael opts for fresh legs due to the three-day turnaround.

Barnsley possible starting lineup:
Collins; Sollbauer, Helik, Andersen; Brittain, Palmer, Mowatt, Styles; Chaplin, Morris, Woodrow

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Colin, Roberts, Dean, Pedersen; Gardner; Sanchez, Halilovic, Sunjic, Bela; Jutkiewicz


SM words green background

We say: Barnsley 2-0 Birmingham City

Birmingham have performed better against the top sides this season, something which will only encourage them ahead of their trip to Oakwell. However, we are backing the home team to continue collecting maximum points, keeping a clean sheet in the process.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


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Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael pictured on February 11, 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
2Watford422410859283182
3Swansea CitySwansea4222101052331976
4Brentford412014771403174
5Bournemouth4221111069412874
6Barnsley42218135446871
7Reading4219101357461167
8Cardiff CityCardiff4216121458461260
9Millwall421417114140159
10Queens Park RangersQPR421611155051-159
11Middlesbrough42169174947257
12Stoke CityStoke421414144546-156
13Luton TownLuton41168173646-1056
14Bristol City42156214156-1551
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn421311185448650
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest421213173441-749
17Preston North EndPreston42147214155-1449
18Coventry CityCoventry421212183956-1748
19Birmingham CityBirmingham421212183250-1848
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield421211194562-1747
21Derby CountyDerby421110213148-1743
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham40116234154-1339
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds42119223555-2036
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe42810243266-3434

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