MX23RW : Saturday, February 22 10:28:09| >> :600:1107448:1107448:
Feb 7, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at ​Ashton Gate
Attendance: 22,065
Bristol City
BirminghamBirmingham City
FT(HT: 1-2)
Hogan (23'), Weimann (30' og.), Jutkiewicz (90')

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

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Friday's Championship fixture between Bristol City and Birmingham City.

Bristol City play host to Birmingham City on Friday night with the opportunity to move into third position in the Championship table.

Meanwhile, the Blues make the trip to Ashton Gate looking to extend their eight-point margin above the relegation zone.

Match preview

Bristol City manager Lee Johnson pictured on September 28, 2019© Reuters

After witnessing his team suffer four successive defeats during December, Lee Johnson would have feared that Bristol could fall away in the race for a place in the playoffs at the end of the season.

However, since December 29, five wins, accompanied by five clean sheets, have been recorded from six matches, to move the Robins back into the hunt for automatic promotion.

Aware that inconsistencies have hindered his side in the past, Johnson will certainly not be getting carried away with Bristol's recent resurgence, but it provides him and his players with something to build on heading into the closing three months of the campaign.

While there will be a tinge of frustration that goals have dried up in the final third, Johnson will take equal satisfaction from his defenders putting in the dirty work to claim three 1-0 triumphs on the bounce.

Although potentially pivotal contests against Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion are scheduled before the end of February, Johnson may feel that those showdowns are coming at the right time with the top two having lost their way to a certain degree.

Despite Birmingham being focused on retaining their second-tier status for at least another 12 months, they travel to Ashton Gate having put together a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.

As well as earning a place in the FA Cup fifth round, Pep Clotet has watched his team pick up eight points from their last four matches in the Championship.

Blues are also undefeated in their three most recent league fixtures on the road, earning five points at Blackburn Rovers, Luton Town and Middlesbrough respectively.

Unlike with their hosts, goals have not been an issue for the West Midlands outfit with 13 being scored in seven games, and Clotet will be delighted that new arrival Scott Hogan got off the mark against Nottingham Forest.

However, Birmingham have not kept a clean sheet in the Championship since October 22, a run now stretching 17 games.

Bristol City Championship form: WLWWWW
Bristol City form (all competitions): DWLWWW

Birmingham City Championship form: LLWDDW
Birmingham City form (all competitions): WDDDWD

Team News

Hull City captain Markus Henriksen pictured in August 2018© Reuters

Bristol boss Johnson is able to call upon Filip Benkovic and Markus Henriksen after their loan moves from Leicester City and Hull City respectively.

Despite nearing full fitness, Tomas Kalas may be handed a game in a second-string fixture before coming back into contention, while Jack Hunt and Andreas Weimann are looking to shake off knocks sustained last weekend.

Unless Johnson switches to two in attack, new arrival Nahki Wells is likely to remain among the replacements.

Having made changes to his starting lineup for the FA Cup fourth replay with Coventry City, Clotet could revert back to the team which started against Forest.

That would mean another start for Hogan, who was ineligible for the meeting with the Sky Blues, with Jefferson Montero one of several players expected to return to the substitutes' bench.

Bristol City possible starting lineup:
Bentley; Hunt, Williams, Baker, Dasilva; Smith, Henriksen, Paterson; Eliasson, Weimann, Diedhiou

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Camp; Colin, Dean, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen; Bela, Gardner, McEachran, Bellingham; Hogan, Jutkiewicz

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We say: Bristol City 3-1 Birmingham City

Despite Birmingham's impressive success last weekend, we have to back Bristol to extend their winning streak. While there have been times when Johnson's side have under-performed in games against the lower clubs, we feel that those disappointments will stand them in good stead ahead of this contest.

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Who will win Friday's Championship clash between Bristol City and Birmingham City?

Bristol City
Birmingham City
Bristol City
Birmingham City
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Bristol City boss Lee Johnson on February 1, 2020
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