MX23RW : Monday, September 27 06:42:35| >> :120:40157:40157:
Jul 17, 2021 at 3pm UK at Whaddon Road
CheltenhamCheltenham Town
BirminghamBirmingham City
FT(HT: 0-2)
Gardner (6'), Hogan (37'), Leko (82')

Preview: Cheltenham Town vs. Birmingham City - prediction, team news, head to head

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Pre-Season Friendlies clash between Cheltenham Town and Birmingham City, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Birmingham City will kick off their preparations for the 2021-22 campaign with a pre-season clash away to Cheltenham Town on Saturday afternoon.

The Blues are building towards their Championship opener against Sheffield United on August 7, while Cheltenham will begin their League One challenge away to Crewe Alexandra on the same day.

Match preview

Conor Thomas celebrates scoring for Cheltenham Town on June 18, 2020© Reuters

Cheltenham will compete in League One during the 2021-22 campaign, having impressively won the League Two title last season, finishing at the top of the pile with 82 points from 46 fixtures.

The Robins will know what they have to improve in order to compete at a higher level, but it has been a strong pre-season for the club thus far, recording back-to-back 3-0 wins over Cinderford Town and Evesham United.

Cheltenham will now step up their preparations with a clash against second-tier side Birmingham, while they are also due to take on Kidderminster Harriers, Coventry City, Hungerford Town, Hereford and Walsall during an incredibly busy pre-season programme.

Michael Duff's side, who have only added two new players this summer in the shape of goalkeeper Owen Evans and central midfielder Elliot Bonds, will then open their season away to Crewe on August 7.

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

Birmingham, meanwhile, finished 18th in the Championship last season to secure another year in the second tier, and they will begin their new campaign away to Sheffield United on August 7.

Lee Bowyer's side have not been in action since suffering a 5-2 defeat to Blackburn Rovers on the final day of the 2020-21 Championship season, but they now have a busy run of matches ahead.

Indeed, the Blues will take on Cheltenham, Barrow, Northampton Town, Oxford United and West Bromwich Albion before the end of the month, and it would be fair to say that they start their 2021-22 Championship programme with one of the toughest fixtures on the calendar.

Birmingham have been relatively busy this summer in terms of incomings, with Jordan Graham, Ryan Woods and Chuks Aneke arriving at the club on free transfers.

The second-tier side have also managed to secure two exciting loan deals in the shape of Chelsea's Juan Familia-Castillo and Manchester United's Tahith Chong, and it will be fascinating to see how the pair perform in the coming season.

Cheltenham Town Pre-Season Friendlies form:
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  • W

Team News

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

Cheltenham have allowed Dan Bowry, Tom Chamberlain, Tahvon Campbell, Chris Clements and Alex Addai to leave the club on free transfers this summer.

As mentioned, only two new players have arrived at the time of writing, but both Evans and Bonds should be involved in some capacity on Saturday afternoon.

Liam Sercombe and Felix Miles were both on the scoresheet against Southern League Division One South opponents Evesham last time out, and the pair are likely to start here, while a brand-new XI could be sent onto the field for the second half against Birmingham.

As for the visitors, there is every chance that the Birmingham fans will see some new faces on display, with Graham, Woods, Aneke, Familia-Castillo and Chong all in line to feature.

Bowyer could decide to select different XI's for each half, but there will be no Neil Etheridge, as the goalkeeper has been hospitalised following a positive coronavirus test.

Fran Villalba, Ivan Guzman and Agus Medina have also returned to St Andrew's following loan spells in Spain, and it will be interesting to see how many players are used this weekend.

There will be plenty of familiar faces on display, though, with the likes of Scott Hogan and Lukas Jutkiewicz set to feature in the final third of the field.

Head To Head

Somewhat surprisingly, there has only ever been one previous meeting between these two sides, which occurred back in November 1990 in the first round of the FA Cup.

Birmingham recorded a 1-0 victory at St Andrew's to advance to the second round of the competition.

SM words green background

We say: Cheltenham Town 1-2 Birmingham City

Cheltenham are further along in their preparations, and the League Two side are certainly capable of making this a tough match for Birmingham. That said, the Blues are expected to arrive with a strong squad, and we fancy the Championship outfit to pick up a narrow win in their pre-season opener.

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General view of Birmingham City's St Andrew's taken 2016
Read Next:
Birmingham City: Transfer ins and outs - Summer 2021
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