Preview: Birmingham City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship encounter between Birmingham and Brighton, who both lost their opening games of the season last weekend.

Life under Sami Hyypia got off to a disappointing start for Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend as they fell to a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday.

Having come into the campaign with playoff ambitions once again, it was a poor opening for the Seagulls, who will now look to get their season well and truly underway against Birmingham City on Saturday.

Despite having vast experience of English football as a player with Liverpool, and of managing in the heights of the Champions League at Bayer Leverkusen, there are question marks over how successful Hyypia will be as a boss in the Championship this season.

The lower leagues of England pose a unique test for managers, but the Finn did get a first competitive win in charge of Brighton under his belt in the League Cup on Tuesday.

Lewis Dunk and Craig Mackail-Smith both scored as the Seagulls eased past Cheltenham Town 2-0, and Hyypia will need more of his players to weigh in with goals having lost top scorer Leonardo Ulloa to Leicester City.

Another key player left for the Premier League this week as Will Buckley completed his move to Sunderland, and the Seagulls will need others to step up to replace the departing stars.

The visitors will be without Andrew Crofts following his red card last weekend, meaning that Kemy Agustien could start.

Birmingham also got off to a poor start in the league, with signs already beginning to show that they could be in for another relegation battle.

Having stayed up by the narrowest of margins last season, manager Lee Clark has found it tough in the transfer market on the whole, although David Davis did arrive from Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week.

The Blues will be looking for more of an attacking threat up front, however, after they failed to register a shot on target during last weekend's 2-0 defeat to Middlesbrough.

Clayton Donaldson could be the man to provide that, and he opened his account on his debut in midweek as Birmingham saw off Cambridge United in the League Cup.

The Midlands outfit did need extra time to overcome their newly-promoted League Two opponents, however, so it was by no means the most convincing of victories.

Centre-back Gavin Gunning was injured in that match and looks to be out for a significant amount of time after Clark confirmed the new signing had suffered posterior cruciate ligament damage.

Recent form

Birmingham: WWWWLW

Brighton: LDLLLW

Possible starting lineups

Birmingham: Randolph; Eardley, Hall, Grounds, Robinson; Shinnie, Edgar, Davis, Gleeson; Novak, Donaldson

Brighton: Stockdale; Bruno, Greer, Hughes, Calderon; Agustien, Ince, Forster-Caskey; Fenelon, O'Grady, Lua Lua

Sports Mole says: 0-1

Who will win Saturday's match between Birmingham and Brighton?

Sami Hyypia, manager of Brighton & Hove Albion, looks on prior to the friendly match against Partick Thistle at Arena Football Center on July 12, 2014
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