MX23RW : Tuesday, June 22 16:56:00| >> :600:1388633:1388633:
Mar 17, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at St. Andrew's Stadium
BirminghamBirmingham City
2-1
ReadingReading
Jutkiewicz (4'), Dean (72')
Colin (22'), Gardner (28')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Meite (35')

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

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

Birmingham City play host to Reading on Wednesday evening having taken the decision to replace Aitor Karanka with Lee Bowyer.

While Blues are fighting to remain outside of the Championship relegation zone, Reading hold a five-point cushion in the playoffs.


Match preview

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

Birmingham have collected seven points from their last six matches, a return which has kept the club outside of the Championship bottom three.

Nevertheless, Saturday's 3-0 reverse at home to Bristol City soon resulted in speculation regarding the long-term future of Karanka, who has been no stranger to criticism this season.

With the West Midlands outfit having confirmed the switch on Tuesday night, club officials are left hoping that a change in direction will act as the catalyst for a better end to the campaign.

At a time when Rotherham United possess four matches in hand, the Blues are vulnerable with regards to dropping into the relegation zone, and it feels imperative that they get back on track against Reading.

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured in December 2020© Reuters

While Birmingham have lost 12 of their 18 matches at home this season, Reading have lost just four games on their travels over the same amount of fixtures.

Despite seven matches ending in draws, including against Nottingham Forest at the weekend, their away form is responsible for keeping the club in the playoff mix.

Collecting 10 points from a possible 12 has ensured that the Royals remain ahead of Barnsley, and Veljko Paunovic knows that every win until the end of the campaign will help fend off the challenge of the chasing pack.

Reading have improved defensively of late, with the only strike being conceded coming courtesy of a Thomas Holmes own goal at the City Ground.

Although Lucas Joao has contributed just one goal in six outings, the club's leading marksman has chipped in with two assists in three appearances.

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

Reading Championship form:
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D


Team News

Reading's Yakou Meite celebrates scoring the third of his four goals against Luton on July 4, 2020© Reuters

Yakou Meite is in line to return to the Reading XI after coming off the substitutes' bench to score the equaliser at Forest.

With Michael Morrison and Andy Rinomhota still absent through injury, that could prove to be the only change to the side.

The change in the Blues dugout is also likely to lead to alterations in personnel for this encounter.

Gary Gardner, Jonathan Leko and Lukas Jutkiewicz will all expect to come back into the team, while George Friend may also be restored to the backline.

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

Reading possible starting lineup:
Cabral; Yiadom, Holmes, Moore, Richards; Semedo, McIntyre, Laurent; Meite, Joao, Olise


SM words green background

We say: Birmingham City 0-2 Reading

Given the uncertainty brought on by Karanka's future, it remains to be seen how Birmingham's players will react to the situation. Nevertheless, Reading have been in much better form, and we cannot see anything but a win for the visitors at St Andrew's.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 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.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Birmingham vs Reading

Birmingham City
21.4%
Draw
14.3%
Reading
64.3%
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Birmingham City manager Aitor Karanka pictured on January 10, 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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