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Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Birmingham City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Birmingham City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Championship fixture between West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City.

West Bromwich Albion head into Saturday's West Midlands derby with Birmingham City sitting one point adrift of Championship leaders Leeds United.

Meanwhile, Blues make the short trip to The Hawthorns having failed to win any of their last five matches at the second tier, leaving the club in 16th position in the standings.


Match preview

At one stage earlier this year, it appeared that West Brom would canter to promotion to the Premier League, especially with Leeds United enduring a slump which threatened to remove them from a top-two spot.

However, picking up just one point from games against Wigan Athletic and Swansea City, coupled with Leeds putting together an unforeseen resurgence, has left the Baggies in second place and looking over their shoulder.

Although there is still a six-point gap to third-placed Fulham, Slaven Bilic will be aware that his team must get back on track as soon as possible having also gone two games without troubling the scoresheet.

Brentford also lie in wait for West Brom on Tuesday night, placing more emphasis on the club to maintain their 10-point gap over the Bees ahead of their upcoming meeting at Griffin Park.

As far as Birmingham are concerned, Pep Clotet will only have consolidation on his mind after the club's five-game streak without a victory.

While four draws have come during that period, the 3-1 defeat at home to Reading last weekend has left Blues just eight points above the relegation zone.

Two victories from their remaining nine games should be enough to starve off the threat of a drop down to League One, but Clotet will not want to see their previous hard word undone by an uninspiring end to the campaign.

Despite Clotet's focus potentially being on crucial home fixtures against Hull City and Huddersfield Town over the next week, the Spaniard knows that avoiding defeat at their biggest rivals in the division will get the club's supporters back on side ahead of that double-header.

West Bromwich Albion Championship form: WDWWLD
West Bromwich Albion form (all competitions): DWWLLD

Birmingham City form: WDDDDL
Birmingham City (all competitions): DDDDLL


Team News

With West Brom having drawn a blank in their last two matches, changes are likely in attack, with Kamil Grosicki an option on the flank in place of Callum Robinson.

Bilic must also decide whether to hand a rest to Hal Robson-Kanu, who is likely to be the preferred option in attack against Brentford on Tuesday.

After witnessing his team's capitulation against Reading, Clotet will inevitably make alterations to his Birmingham starting lineup.

Jude Bellingham may be one of the players to drop to the substitutes' bench after a week which has seen him hold discussions with Manchester United.

Maikel Kieftenbeld is also in contention to feature in midfield, potentially at the expense of Ivan Sunjic.

Jake Clarke-Salter will hope for a recall to the centre of defence in place of Harlee Dean.

West Bromwich Albion possible starting lineup:
Johnstone; O'Shea, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend; Sawyers, Livermore, Krovinovic; Pereira, Austin, Grosicki

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Camp; Colin, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Pedersen; Crowley, Sunjic, Gardner, Mrabti; Jutkiewicz, Hogan


We say: West Bromwich Albion 3-1 Birmingham City

Although the Baggies have failed to win their last two Championship matches without scoring a goal, we feel that the promotion contenders will return to form against opposition who have lost the momentum they had generated at the start of the year.


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Championship Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds40229960332775
2West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom402014667382974
3Brentford402091170333769
4Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest401813953401367
5Fulham4019101154441067
6Cardiff CityCardiff40151695751661
7Derby CountyDerby401612125552360
8Millwall411417104844459
9Swansea CitySwansea401415115047357
10Preston North EndPreston40169155250257
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn401511145550556
12Bristol City401510155359-655
13Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds401410164954-552
14Wigan AthleticWigan401311164550-550
15Queens Park RangersQPR40148185966-750
16Reading401310174848049
17Birmingham CityBirmingham401213155163-1249
18Charlton AthleticCharlton411210194655-946
19Hull City40129195468-1445
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield40129194963-1445
21Middlesbrough401014164052-1244
22Stoke CityStoke40127215061-1143
23Barnsley401011194562-1741
24Luton TownLuton40117224673-2740
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Match previews - twice weekly
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UC
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Championship Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds40229960332775
2West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom402014667382974
3Brentford402091170333769
4Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest401813953401367
5Fulham4019101154441067
6Cardiff CityCardiff40151695751661
7Derby CountyDerby401612125552360
8Millwall411417104844459
9Swansea CitySwansea401415115047357
10Preston North EndPreston40169155250257
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn401511145550556
12Bristol City401510155359-655
13Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds401410164954-552
14Wigan AthleticWigan401311164550-550
15Queens Park RangersQPR40148185966-750
16Reading401310174848049
17Birmingham CityBirmingham401213155163-1249
18Charlton AthleticCharlton411210194655-946
19Hull City40129195468-1445
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield40129194963-1445
21Middlesbrough401014164052-1244
22Stoke CityStoke40127215061-1143
23Barnsley401011194562-1741
24Luton TownLuton40117224673-2740
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
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