MX23RW : Monday, June 14 06:55:20| >> :600:661393:661393:
Mar 7, 2020 at 3pm UK at St. Andrew's Stadium
Attendance: 19,525
BirminghamBirmingham City
Hogan (6')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Miazga (52'), Meite (56'), Pele (87')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Birmingham City and Reading, including team news and predicted lineups.

Birmingham City will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run of form in the Championship to 11 matches when they welcome Reading to St Andrew's on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues have not lost in the league since New Year's Day, although they remain 15th in the table, two points and one position above Reading ahead of this weekend's contest.

Match preview

Birmingham boss Pep Clotet on February 1, 2020© Reuters

Birmingham had a rotten end to 2019 as they lost four of their final five league matches, but the Blues are unbeaten in the Championship since Wigan Athletic beat them on New Year's Day.

Indeed, the Blues have won four and drawn six of their last 10 in England's second tier, including draws in their last four against Brentford, Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall and Queens Park Rangers.

Pep Clotet's side are probably too far away from the playoffs - nine points - to be considered genuine contenders for a top-six finish although stranger things have certainly happened.

Birmingham have also won their last three Championship matches with Reading, including a 3-2 success when they travelled to the Madejski Stadium for the reverse fixture towards the start of December.

Clotet's side will enter this match off the back of a defeat, though, having lost 1-0 at Leicester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Wednesday night.

Reading manager Mark Bowen on February 15, 2020© Reuters

Reading were also in FA Cup action earlier this week, suffering a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United after extra time to miss out on the chance to make the quarter-finals of the competition.

The Royals did record a 2-0 win over Barnsley in their last league match, though, and also impressively beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 on their travels in the middle of last month.

As mentioned, Reading are currently 16th in the Championship table, nine points clear of the bottom three.

They are not really in danger of dropping into a relegation battle but are 11 points off the playoffs, indicating that Mark Bowen's side do not have an awful lot to play for as the season heads for its final straight.

Birmingham Championship form: WWDDDD
Birmingham form (all competitions): WDDDDL

Reading Championship form: DLWLLW
Reading form (all competitions): LWLLWL

Team News

Jude Bellingham in action for Birmingham City on August 31, 2019© Reuters

Jude Bellingham was not involved against Leicester during the week due to fatigue, but the 16-year-old is set to return to the Birmingham squad for this weekend's contest.

Clotet shuffled his pack for the clash with the Foxes, but there are expected to be changes for this match, with Gary Gardner being tipped to return to the middle of the park.

Scott Hogan and Lukas Jutkiewicz should continue as the front two, but Jeremie Bela, Josh McEachran, Jacques Maghoma and David Stockdale are still on the treatment table.

As for Reading, Chris Gunter, Lucas Boye, Tom McIntyre and Lucas Joao remain on the sidelines.

Bowen's side did not pick up any fresh concerns from their clash with Sheffield United, though, and there are not expected to be many changes from the match against the Blades.

George Puscas was again on the scoresheet against Chris Wilder's side and should again lead the line, although Pele is pushing for a spot in midfield having recovered from injury.

Birmingham possible starting lineup:
Camp; Colin, Roberts, Dean, Pedersen; Bellingham, Gardner, Sunjic, Crowley; Hogan, Jutkiewicz

Reading possible starting lineup:
Rafael; Yiadom, Miazga, Morrison, Obita; Meite, Rinomhota, Swift, Ejaria, Olise; Puscas

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We say: Birmingham 1-1 Reading

This match has a draw written all over it. The table suggests that there is not too much between the two teams in terms of quality, and Birmingham have very much been the draw specialists in 2020.

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Jude Bellingham in action for Birmingham City on August 31, 2019
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