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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Derby County and Birmingham City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Derby County play host to Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon looking to end a four-match losing streak which has moved the club closer to the Championship relegation zone.

In sharp contrast, Blues have put together a much-needed run of five games without defeat, leaving them on the brink of second-tier survival.

Match preview

Derby County's manager Wayne Rooney before the match on March 6, 2021© Reuters

When Derby succumbed to Reading and Norwich City earlier this month, Wayne Rooney would have been confident that his side would respond in the following double-header against Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End.

However, further setbacks against those sides have left the Rams just four above the relegation zone, at risk of being overtaken by Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday.

With the latter to come on the final day of the campaign, Rooney and his squad are under pressure to get a potentially-decisive victory on the board before welcoming the Owls to Pride Park.

Derby have collected just one win from their last 12 outings, while Rooney has been left frustrated with four goals being scored in 540 minutes of action.

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

Their next opponents have also struggled in the final third throughout this season with Birmingham's backline the main reason why they are currently away from the drop zone.

Nevertheless, Lee Bowyer is getting something extra out of this group of players with 14 points being recorded from his seven fixtures in charge.

Bowyer was left frustrated with conceding a last-gasp penalty to Nottingham Forest in midweek, but the result has given Blues a 10-point advantage over 22nd position.

Barring an unlikely set of results, Birmingham are already safe, although their likely survival will not stop Bowyer from trying to move as high as 14th place over the coming weeks.

Lewis Grabban's spot kick on Wednesday night prevented Blues from posting their fifth successive clean sheet.

Derby County Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

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

Team News

Derby County's Martyn Waghorn celebrates scoring against Nottingham Forest in the Championship on October 23, 2020© Reuters

The selection of Martyn Waghorn is likely to be one of several changes made by Derby boss Rooney.

Lee Buchanan, Edmondson and Louie Sibley are also pushing for starting roles with Andre Wisdom and Craig Forsyth among those potentially missing out.

With Scott Hogan expected to be sidelined through injury, Bowyer could hand a start to Blues winger Jonathan Leko.

The short turnaround may also lead to Riley McGree and Rekeem Harper being considered for a place in the first XI.

Derby County possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Byrne, Edmundson, Clarke, Buchanan; Bird, Shinnie; Waghorn, Lawrence, Knight; Kazim-Richards

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

SM words green background

We say: Derby County 0-1 Birmingham City

Derby have shown on numerous occasions this season that they can raise their game for the big occasion. Nevertheless, Blues have been excellent in recent matches, and we feel that the visitors could edge this contest with a solitary goal.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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How you voted: Derby vs Birmingham

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Derby County's manager Wayne Rooney before the match on March 6, 2021
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Wayne Rooney admits Derby are "conceding too many sloppy goals"
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