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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Championship clash between Millwall and Birmingham City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Birmingham City boss Aitor Karanka is in desperate need of a victory when his side travel to in-form Millwall in the Championship on Wednesday evening.

The Blues have lost back-to-back matches and are winless in five, while Millwall have won their last two games and are unbeaten in five.


Match preview

Birmingham City manager Aitor Karanka pictured on January 10, 2021© Reuters

Birmingham's defeat to Luton Town on Saturday was their seventh in eight matches on home soil, the other game in that sequence ending in a draw.

It is also a defeat that leaves City in the relegation zone heading into the midweek round of fixtures, one point behind 17th-placed Rotherham United after playing two games more.

Dropping into the third tier is now a real possibility for City, then, with the pressure seriously on boss Karanka to turn things around before it is too late.

Wednesday's trip to The Den will be a tough assignment if Millwall's recent form is anything to go by, with the Lions having moved up to 14th thanks to successive wins.

Millwall manager Gary Rowett pictured in February 2021© Reuters

Gary Rowett's side followed up a 4-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday with a 2-1 win at Reading last time out, leaving them nine points off the playoffs with a game in hand.

That victory over Wednesday in their last home match ended a run of 10 league games without a win at The Den. They scored as many goals against the Owls as they managed in their previous seven at home.

It is not too late for Millwall to gatecrash the top six, though if that is to happen then they need to keep their winning streak going.

However, the last three league meetings between these two sides have ended as a draw, the last two of them without a goal being scored.

Indeed, all six Championship meetings between Millwall's Rowett and Birmingham's Karanka have ended as a draw, with the last three all finishing 0-0.

Millwall Championship form: WDDDWW
Millwall form (all competitions): LDDDWW

Birmingham City Championship form: WLDDLL


Team News

Millwall's Jed Wallace celebrates scoring against Reading in the Championship on November 25, 2020© Reuters

Millwall are sweating on the fitness of Maikel Kieftenbeld and Ryan Leonard for this midweek clash, but Murray Wallace and Connor Mahoney are definitely out.

Matt Smith, Jed Wallace and Mason Bennett are all pushing for recalls to the starting lineup after making an impact from the bench in the 2-1 comeback win at Reading.

Former Queens Park Rangers striker Smith's goal at the Madejski Stadium was just his third of the season, while Wallace and Bennett have six and two respectively.

As for the visitors, Alen Halilovic returned to fitness in time for the Luton match, giving Birmingham a clean bill of health.

Ivan Sunjic and Jonathan Leko were introduced from the bench in that most recent match and may be considered from the off on Wednesday.

Millwall possible starting lineup:
Bialkowski; Cooper, Hutchinson, Evans; Romeo, Williams, Woods, Malone; Wallace, Bennett; Smith

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Valery, Dean, Friend, Pedersen; Harper, Sunjic; Leko, Halilovic, Bela; Hogan


SM words green background

We say: Millwall 0-0 Birmingham City

Millwall have won back-to-back games and are unbeaten in five, while Birmingham have lost back-to-back games and are winless in five.

If recent meetings between Rowett and under-fire Karanka tell us anything, though, it is that you should never bet against a draw.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw 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/Draw:data


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Millwall manager Gary Rowett pictured in February 2021
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CNorwich CityNorwich462910775363997
4Swansea CitySwansea4623111256391780
5Barnsley46239145850878
6Bournemouth4622111373462777
7Reading461913146254870
8Cardiff CityCardiff4618141466491768
9Queens Park RangersQPR461911165755268
10Middlesbrough461810185553264
11Millwall461517144752-562
12Luton TownLuton461711184152-1162
13Preston North EndPreston46187214956-761
14Stoke CityStoke461515165052-260
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn4615121965541157
16Coventry CityCoventry461413194961-1255
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest461216183745-852
18Birmingham CityBirmingham461313203761-2452
19Bristol City46156254668-2251
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield461213215071-2149
21Derby CountyDerby461111243658-2244
RWycombe WanderersWycombe461110253969-3043
RRotherham UnitedRotherham46119264460-1642
RSheffield WednesdaySheff Weds461211234061-2141

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