MX23RW : Tuesday, September 28 02:12:23| >> :120:8747:8747:
Jul 20, 2021 at 1pm UK at St Andrew's
BirminghamBirmingham City
Gardner (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Hutton (90')

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

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Birmingham City and Barrow, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Birmingham City take on Barrow in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday, with both sides set to compete in only their second match of the summer so far.

Both sides recorded victories in their opening game of pre-season, with Birmingham beating Cheltenham Town 3-0 and Barrow winning 7-1 against Holker Old Boys.

Match preview

Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer pictured on March 17, 2021© Reuters

Birmingham are set to enter their 11th successive season in the Championship, having failed to bounce back to the Premier League since being relegated in 2011.

The Blues have arguably been fortunate to remain in the second tier given that they have not finished any higher than 17th in any of the last five seasons, but there is a more optimistic vibe around the club with former player Lee Bowyer at the helm.

The 44-year-old left Charlton Athletic to join the club in March, winning half of his ten league games in charge so far to guide the club away from danger last season.

It is still early days for Bowyer, but a comfortable victory against League One outfit Cheltenham on Saturday was a good start to the summer for his side, with a clear emphasis on retaining possession in deeper areas likely to take time to perfect in the coming months.

Barrow's Scott Quigley pictured in March 2021© Reuters

Barrow, meanwhile, narrowly secured safety in their first campaign in the Football League in 48 years last season, with three different managers ultimately guiding them across the line.

It was always likely to be a tough season for the Bluebirds at a higher level, particularly after Ian Evatt surprisingly departed the club for Bolton Wanderers despite guiding them to promotion from the National League.

Former Birmingham midfielder David Dunn was chosen as Evatt's replacement but won only two of his 22 games in charge before being sacked in December last year, with Michael Jolley also sacked two months later after only winning one of his seven games at the club

Ultimately, the club owe Rob Kelly a huge debt in terms of their safety, with the 56-year-old interim manger winning 10 of his 22 games overall after the two permanent men in charge had been relieved of their duties.

However, Kelly has since departed to join Wigan Athletic as an assistant manager, with former Forest Green Rovers manager Mark Cooper now at the helm.

The 7-1 win against local non-league side Holker Old Boys will have boosted confidence among his attackers, but Tuesday's test against Birmingham will be a far better indication of the level his players are currently at.

Birmingham City Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W

Barrow Pre-Season Friendlies form:
  • W

Team News

Birmingham City's Scott Hogan celebrates scoring their first goal against Swansea City in the Championship on April 2, 2021© Reuters

Jeremie Bela was in superb form during the victory against Cheltenham, with the winger's mazy dribbling ability one of the Blues' most potent attacking threats throughout last season.

Bela, Ivan Sanchez, Scott Hogan and Lukas Jutkiewicz developed an excellent understanding in offensive areas, and should be provided with more game time from the start against Barrow.

The Bluebirds, meanwhile, could be without Offrande Zanzala after the forward picked up an injury in his first game for the club since joining from Carlisle United earlier this summer.

Luke James replaced him after only 34 minutes against Holker, and could be provided with a start if Zanzala is indeed unavailable.

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Sarkic; Colin, Dean, Friend, Pedersen; Sanchez, Woods, Gardner, Bela; Hogan, Jutkiewicz

Barrow possible starting lineup:
Farman; Brough, Platt, Ellis, Ntlhe; Hutton, Banks, Beadling; James, Kay, Gordon

SM words green background

We say: Birmingham City 3-0 Barrow

We expect there to be a significant gulf in class at St Andrew's on Tuesday.

Not only is there two divisions between these two teams, but Barrow may struggle to survive two seasons on the bounce in League Two, with Birmingham looking like a side on an upwards trajectory under Bowyer.

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Grimsby Town manager Michael Jolley on January 5, 2018
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