MX23RW : Saturday, August 8 20:37:12| >> :600:134526:134526:
Jul 18, 2020 at 3pm UK at Cossham Street Stadium
PrestonPreston North End
BirminghamBirmingham City
Bauer (43'), Potts (87')
Harrop (21'), Gallagher (52')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Sunjic (28'), Bellingham (67')

Preview: Preston North End vs. Birmingham City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Preston North End and Birmingham City, including team news and predicted lineups.

Preston North End know that only victory will do against Birmingham City this weekend if they are to keep their slim hopes of Championship promotion alive.

The Lilywhites have fallen five points adrift of the playoffs with two games to go following a poor run of form, while Birmingham have also struggled for wins and are down in 19th.

Match preview

Preston boss Alex Neil on February 8, 2020© Reuters

Preston went into the lockdown period in possession of the final playoff spot, a point point better off than closest challengers Bristol City.

Alex Neil's men have won only one out of six matches since then, however, and are on course for another season of second-tier football.

The latest setback came away at high-flying Brentford on Wednesday, with Ollie Watkins's early goal proving enough to inflict another defeat on Preston.

Going further back, it is one win in 10 games for Neil's side and they must now beat Birmingham and Bristol City to have any hope of making the top six.

They also need Cardiff City, Millwall and Swansea City to slip up in their final two matches, yet Neil refused to throw in the towel following the narrow loss to Brentford.

Fulham players celebrate scoring against Birmingham City on July 4, 2020© Reuters

One game at a time was the message from Neil, and this visit of Birmingham does at least present the Lilywhites with an opportunity to regain a bit of confidence.

No team has been in worse form than Birmingham since last month's restart, leading to Pep Clotet stepping down a month early last week.

Talk over who is going to replace Clotet is rumbling on, with Wigan Athletic miracle worker Paul Cook an early favourite, but the Blues still have work to do this term.

Wednesday's late 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic leaves them five points clear of the dropzone with six more points to play for.

A point at Deepdale should be enough, then, given their superior goal difference over Hull City and Luton Town, though whoever takes over will have a lot of work to do this summer.

Preston's Championship form: LLDWDL

Birmingham's Championship form: DLLLLD

Team News

Stoke's Liam Lindsay and Birmingham's Lukas Jutkiewicz in action on August 31, 2019© Reuters

Highly-rated teenager Jude Bellingham is rumoured to have travelled to Germany to undergo a medical with Borussia Dortmund and is therefore doubtful for this match.

Ivan Sunjic and Gary Gardner started in central midfield in midweek and that will likely remain the case at Deepdale.

Lukas Jutkiewicz has scored two goals in his last three games and seems nailed on to start, but youngster Jayden Reid will be pushing Scott Hogan for the other striking berth.

As for the home side, they were without centre-back Ben Davies against Brentford and that is expected to be the case this weekend.

Ben Pearson also missed out, while Alan Browne was only fit enough for a place on the bench, but both men are pushing for inclusion here.

Elsewhere, Paul Huntington returned from a three-match ban last time out but stayed on the bench for the full 90 minutes.

Preston possible starting lineup:
Rudd; Rafferty, Bauer, Storey, Hughes; Pearson, Johnson; Potts, Maguire, Sinclair; Stockley

Birmingham possible starting lineup:
Camp; Colin, Roberts, Dean, Pedersen; Crowley, Sunjic, Gardner, Bela; Jutkiewicz, Hogan

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We say: Preston 2-0 Birmingham

Preston may have struggled for wins either side of the three-month hiatus, but Birmingham's form has been even worse. The Blues have failed to win any of their last 15 matches in all competitions and have lost four of their last five, a run that we can see being extended this weekend.


Who will win Saturday's Championship clash between Preston North End and Birmingham City?

Preston North End
Birmingham City
Preston North End
Birmingham City
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Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook pictured on June 27, 2020
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