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

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Championship clash between Rotherham United and Birmingham City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Rotherham United and Birmingham City square off on Sunday afternoon with the opportunity to take a significant step forward in their bid to avoid relegation from the Championship.

While Blues currently sit six points clear of the bottom three, Rotherham will halve the gap between themselves and their next opponents with victory at the New York Stadium.

Match preview

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne pictured in January 2021© Reuters

With three games having been played in less than a week, Rotherham boss Paul Warne will be relatively content with claiming four points during that period.

Nevertheless, the Millers could ill-afford to lose to Coventry City, and their 1-0 reverse to the Sky Blues has made it increasingly difficult to avoid the drop.

Still possessing two fixtures in hand, Warne will not panic at this stage, but there is now a greater need to get maximum points from Sunday's encounter.

On a positive note, taking advantage of their extra matches will currently take Rotherham into 18th position, a scenario which keeps the pressure on the teams above them.

With all three of Rotherham's goals against Queens Park Rangers coming after the break, they have now failed to score in nine of their last 10 halves of football.

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

Birmingham's record in the final third is also nothing to brag about with just five goals being scored in as many games since the arrival of Lee Bowyer.

However, the former Charlton Athletic boss has delivered 10 points, a return which has left Blues on the brink of securing their second tier status for another 12 months.

Defeat on Sunday would change the mood at St Andrew's, but Bowyer will feel that his well-rested squad are in the ideal position to outlast their hosts.

Three of Lukas Jutkiewicz's five goals this season have come since Bowyer's appointment with his double proving decisive in last weekend's game against Stoke City.

Rotherham United Championship form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L

Birmingham City Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W

Team News

Birmingham City's Ivan Sanchez in action with Wycombe Wanderers' Joe Jacobson in the Championship on November 4, 2020© Reuters

Bowyer will be forced into at least one change with Alen Halilovic having been ruled out through injury.

With Jonathan Leko's place also in doubt, Ivan Sanchez and Riley McGree could both be handed recalls.

George Friend may also be brought into the team as a replacement for Steve Seddon at left wing-back.

Warne will almost certainly bring fresh legs into the Rotherham side with Ryan Giles and Freddie Ladapo expected to be recalled to the starting lineup.

Daniel Barlaser should also feature after remaining as an unused substitute on Thursday night.

Rotherham United possible starting lineup:
Johansson; Ihiekwe, MacDonald, Wood; Harding, Wiles, Barlaser, Wing, Giles; Smith, Ladapo

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Dean, Roberts, Pedersen; Colin, Sunjic, Gardner, Friend; Sanchez, McGree; Jutkiewicz

SM words green background

We say: Rotherham United 1-1 Birmingham City

Aware of the consequences of defeat, Rotherham are unlikely to come out firing on all cylinders on Sunday. Nevertheless, the Blues will be more than happy with a share of the spoils, leading us to predict a low-scoring draw.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data

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Birmingham City manager Lee Bowyer pictured on March 17, 2021
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