Preview: Charlton Athletic vs. Birmingham City

Preview: Charlton vs. Birmingham
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Sports Mole previews Saturday's relegation scrap between Charlton and Birmingham at the Valley.

Charlton Athletic could climb out of the relegation zone with a win over Birmingham City at The Valley on Saturday.

A run of three consecutive defeats and no wins in five has seen Charlton drop below the dreaded dotted line, where they are now two points adrift of safety.

However, if they manage to beat Birmingham this weekend and Millwall fail to win away to Burnley, then the Addicks would find themselves out of the drop zone.

To do that, though, they will need to improve on their recent form, which has seen them score just three goals in their last five Championship outings.

They are the league's lowest scorers overall this season with just 23 goals from their 27 matches, a record they will be hoping that new signing Reza Ghoochannejhad can improve.

Only two teams have picked up fewer points at home than Charlton, but two of their three league wins at The Valley this season have come in their last five matches, so there are signs of improvement.

Lawrie Wilson remains suspended following his red card against Doncaster Rovers last Tuesday, while Chris Powell could also be without injury doubts Rhoys Wiggins, Leon Cort and Chris Solly.

Birmingham are by no means safe from relegation themselves and defeat on Saturday could leave them just three points clear of danger.

The Blues ended 2013 in style with a nine-match unbeaten streak, but 2014 has not been kind to them so far, with Lee Clark yet to steer his side to a victory in the league.

They have amassed just two points from a possible 15 in that time, although their last outing did see them clinch a late draw against high-flyers Derby County in a 3-3 thriller.

Curiously, Birmingham have been noticeably better on the road than they have been in front of their own fans this season, and their 1-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion in January was their first in seven away matches.

Federico Macheda was City's hero against Derby last weekend and he is expected to start up front again, while Chris Burke, Reece Brown and Paul Robinson could all return to the side.

Recent form

Charlton: DLWWLL

Birmingham: LWLLLD

Possible starting lineups

Charlton: Thuram; Nego, Morrison, Wood, Lennon; Harriott, Jackson, Ajdarevic, Cousins; Ghoochannejhad, Sordell

Birmingham: Randolph; Caddis, Packwood, Robinson, Blackett; Adeyemi, Huws, Burke, Novak, Brown; Macheda

Sports Mole says: 2-2

New manager of Wigan Athletic, Uwe Rosler, looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan Athletic at Hillsborough Stadium on December 18, 2013
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Shrewsbury TownShrewsbury1511402491537
2Wigan AthleticWigan1511222992035
3Bradford CityBradford158342418627
4Charlton AthleticCharlton148332216627
5Rotherham UnitedRotherham158162819925
6Blackburn RoversBlackburn137241910923
7Oxford UnitedOxford Utd156542618823
8Scunthorpe UnitedScunthorpe156541511423
9Blackpool146442018222
10Peterborough UnitedPeterborough146352421321
11Fleetwood Town146352323021
12Portsmouth156271919020
13Southend UnitedSouthend155551926-720
14Walsall154742123-219
15MK Dons155461722-519
16Bristol Rovers156092329-618
17Rochdale153751518-316
18Doncaster RoversDoncaster154381720-315
19AFC Wimbledon15438916-715
20Oldham AthleticOldham144372331-815
21Bury143381621-512
22Northampton TownNorthampton153391226-1412
23Gillingham15258919-1011
24Plymouth ArgylePlymouth152491123-1210
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