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Preview: Birmingham City vs. Preston North End - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Championship clash between Birmingham City and Preston North End, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Birmingham City play host to Preston North End on Wednesday evening looking to build on their excellent win at promotion-chasing Middlesbrough.

Meanwhile, the visitors head into the Championship fixture at St Andrew's on the back of defeats to Nottingham Forest and Bristol City.


Match preview

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

With just two home wins from 12 attempts, Birmingham City head coach Aitor Karanka can have no complaints that there is frequent criticism of his start to life at St Andrew's.

Nevertheless, his side's ability to upset the bigger clubs will keep the Spaniard in a job, the latest success coming away at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Four of Birmingham's six victories this season have been against teams currently occupying places in the top nine, with clean sheets being kept in all but one of those matches.

Remaining just seven points above the relegation zone, Blues will require consistency if they wish to get themselves out of trouble in the long term.

The same is required from frontman Scott Hogan, who ended a seven-game streak without a goal in netting the decisive strike at the Riverside Stadium.

As far as Preston are concerned, they will view this contest as the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways in the Championship.

Alex Neil's side ended 2020 with three successive victories, but they have now lost the same amount of games in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Now eight points behind the top six, Neil is aware that only victories will do if his team are to participate in what will be a hotly-contested race for the playoffs.

Preston have not scored a goal from open play since the early stages of their fixture with Coventry City on December 29, a period spanning 342 minutes.

Birmingham City Championship form: LLDLLW
Birmingham City form (all competitions): LDLLLW

Preston North End Championship form: LWWWLL
Preston North End form (all competitions): WWWLLL


Team News

Preston North End manager Alex Neil pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Despite their defeat at Bristol City, Neil may opt to retain the same starting lineup for this contest.

Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Jayson Molumby is expected to remain on the substitutes' bench after the arrival of Ben Whiteman.

Karanka is unlikely to tinker with the side which performed so impressively against Middlesbrough.

That will leave Alen Halilovic among the replacements after his recent return from injury.

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Colin, Dean, San Jose, Friend; Kieftenbeld, Sunjic; Sanchez, Toral, Bela; Hogan

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Iversen; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Hughes; Whiteman, Browne; Barkhuizen, Johnson, Sinclair; Maguire


SM words green background

We say: Birmingham City 1-1 Preston North End

While Blues have been abysmal at St Andrew's this season, there will come a time when they finally end their barren spell in the West Midlands. However, we do not expect it to be on Wednesday night with Preston motivated to get back on track with their bid for the playoffs.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data


ID:431030:cQx:QQ:

How you voted: Birmingham vs Preston

Birmingham City
43.5%
Draw
29.0%
Preston North End
27.5%
69
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Birmingham City manager Aitor Karanka pictured on January 10, 2021
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Aitor Karanka hopes Middlesbrough win is a "sign of the future"
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich32207545252067
2Brentford32179659342560
3Watford32179643232060
4Swansea CitySwansea30178538191959
5Reading32156114437751
6Cardiff CityCardiff321471148341449
7Bournemouth321310946321449
8Barnsley31146113635148
9Middlesbrough32137123734346
10Stoke CityStoke32111293735245
11Millwall3291673128343
12Bristol City32133163243-1142
13Queens Park RangersQPR301010103034-440
14Preston North EndPreston32124163442-840
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn31116144537839
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest32109132731-439
17Luton TownLuton31108132435-1138
18Derby CountyDerby31107142432-837
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield32106163847-936
20Coventry CityCoventry32810142943-1434
21Birmingham CityBirmingham32710152340-1731
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham3085173341-829
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds3197152135-1428
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe3158182351-2823

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