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[monks data]
Sep 12, 2015 at 3pm UK at St Andrew's


Donaldson (10', 20', 41' pen.), Grounds (77')
FT(HT: 3-1)
Kodjia (32', 66')

Preview: Birmingham City vs. Bristol City

Sports Mole previews the Championship clash between Birmingham City and Bristol City.

Birmingham City will look to give their bid for Premier League promotion a push with a win over Championship new boys Bristol City this weekend.

However, the Robins travel to St Andrew's in search of their second consecutive away win as they try to move away from the relegation battle.

Birmingham City

Gary Rowett of Birmingham City looks on during the pre season friendly match between Nuneaton Town and Birmingham City at the James Parnell Stadium on July 14, 2015© Getty Images

Birmingham will hope to mount a serious challenge for promotion to the Premier League, or at least a playoff place, after finishing last season as one of the form teams in the second tier.

Good form will not come as a surprise to Blues fans, having seen Gary Rowett win eight of his first 12 games in charge at St Andrew's, after succeeding Lee Clark as manager last October.

City also took 13 points from their final six games last season, but could only finish 10th, 15 points behind Ipswich Town in the final playoff place.

Integral to Birmingham's quest for a place in the top flight this term is their ability to retain the services of Demarai Gray, despite rumoured interest from Leicester City.

Rowett has allowed Wes Thomas to join Swindon Town on loan this month, but has signed Shane Lowry on a free transfer following his release by Leyton Orient this summer.

Meanwhile, City remain one of four teams in the Championship with an unbeaten record after beating MK Dons last time out.

Recent form: WWWDDW
Recent form (all competitions): WWDDWW

Bristol City

Manager Steve Cotterill of Bristol City applauds the crowd as he walks out for the Sky Bet League One match between Bristol City and Walsall at Ashton Gate on May 3, 2015© Getty Images

Perhaps some Bristol City fans will have expected a relegation struggle, an expectation that may have been strengthened by their start to the season.

However, Cotterill appears to have loftier ambitions for the South-West club, calling for a "sexy" brand of football at Ashton Gate to attract talent.

City tried to lure Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace before the end of the season, but the young forward rejected a move to Bristol as he reportedly wanted to remain in the top flight.

The Robins did manage to sign Nathan Baker from Aston Villa and Liam Moore from Leicester City as part of a defensive reshuffle.

However, their deal to bring Ryan Fredericks from Tottenham Hotspur failed to work out, with the wing-back returning to London for "personal reasons".

On the pitch, City's form has turned somewhat after picking up a draw against Leeds United before winning away to promotion candidates Middlesbrough.

The Cider Army did lose on their last outing at home to Burnley, but the Avon outfit will hope that the result against the Clarets is a mere blip rather than a return to struggles.

Recent form: WLLDWL
Recent form (all competitions): LLLDWL

Team News

Inverness' Billy McKay in action against Motherwell during their Scottish Premier League match on May 4, 2013© Getty Images

Birmingham City could name an unchanged side for the third consecutive match after back-to-back wins against Gillingham in the League Cup and MK Dons in the Championship.

Should Rowett continue with the same team, Demarai Gray is expected to partner Clayton Donaldson in attack for the Blues.

Meanwhile, Cotterill's main selection headache will be whether he keeps faith with captain Aaron Wilbraham and Jonathan Kodija in attack or turn to someone like Kieran Agard, who was on the bench against Burnley.

The City boss also has the likes of Wes Burns and Scott Wagstaff as possible options, should he decide to change.

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Kuzczak; Caddis, Spector, Morrison, Grounds; Gleeson, Kieftenbeld, Cotterill, Toral, Gray; Donaldson

Bristol City possible starting lineup:
Hamer, Little, Ayling, Flint, Williams; Bryan, Smith, Pack, Reid; Wilbraham, Kodjia

Head To Head

The Cider Army are looking for second straight win on the road, but they will also need to overturn a dreadful recent record against the Blues, having lost seven of their last nine encounters with the West Midlands outfit.

Bristol City's last win over the West Midlands side came back in November 1993 when the sides met in the former Division One.

The last time the teams faced each other saw Birmingham come out on top, thanks to a goal from one Wade Elliott, who went on to play for the Robins.

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We say: Birmingham 2-1 Bristol City

Birmingham's form both home and away has been solid, but the Robins' relative resurgence could make this a tough test for the Blues. Nevertheless, this might prove to be a bridge too far for Cotterill's side and we have plumped for a narrow home win.

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A general view of Ashton Gate ahead of the Sky Bet League One match between Bristol City and Chesterfield at Ashton Gate on October 11, 2014
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