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Nov 6, 2021 at 3.30pm UK
BirminghamBirmingham City
Hogan (3')
Bela (30'), Dean (34'), Oakley (38'), McGree (55')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Clarke (70', 82')
Holmes (76')

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

:Headline: Preview: Birmingham City vs. Reading - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Birmingham City and Reading, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two sides on contrasting runs of form meet in the Championship on Saturday as Birmingham City host Reading.

The Blues have won three games in a row and sit 13th, three points ahead of the Royals in 18th who have lost their last four.

Match preview

Birmingham eased to a 3-0 victory at home to Bristol City on Tuesday night, as Riley McGree, Scott Hogan and Gary Gardner all got on the scoresheet.

It is the first time the Blues have recorded three consecutive victories since February 2020 and follows a run of seven games without a victory.

The winning streak – which has come alongside a run of three clean sheets in four matches – has lifted the Midlands outfit to within three points of the playoffs.

Lee Bowyer will now be aiming to make it four wins in a row – something that Birmingham have not done since October 2018 under Garry Monk.

The Blues won 2-1 in both games against Reading last season and have lost just once in their last six matches against the Royals.

That will not fill a depleted Reading side with confidence as they aim to avoid a fifth consecutive defeat in the second tier for the first time since May 1998.

Injuries have hit the Berkshire outfit hard in recent weeks and their fatigue showed in a 1-0 loss at Millwall on Tuesday evening – the third game in a row in which they failed to score. They have not gone four matches without netting since April 2015.

Having been on the brink of the playoffs three weeks ago, Reading are now six points behind the top six with fresh news of a nine-point deduction for breaching profit and sustainability rules arriving this week.

The Royals have won just two of their last 14 away matches, while only Peterborough United and Cardiff City have conceded more goals in the Championship than them this season.

To compound the club's woes, manager Veljko Paunovic will be absent from the touchline for the second game in a row after testing positive for coronavirus on Monday.

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

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

Team News

Lee Bowyer is set to hand a league debut to Marcel Oakley at right wing-back, with Maxime Colin and Jordan Graham out injured.

Graham was forced off in the midweek win over Bristol City, as was centre-back Dion Sanderson and the Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee will be assessed ahead of the game.

Kristian Pedersen is sidelined with a hamstring problem, while it has been confirmed that Tahith Chong has returned to Manchester United for his recovery from groin surgery.

Reading will remain without Andy Yiadom who is isolating due to Covid-19, but could have Danny Drinkwater back available after he missed the Millwall defeat with a soft tissue injury.

There is also hope that former Birmingham midfielder Alen Halilovic could be fit enough to return, with the Croatian having not featured since the end of September.

Captain Liam Moore appeared to suffer a leg injury in the closing stages at The Den on Tuesday, making him a doubt for the trip to St. Andrew's.

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Sarkic; Sanderson, Roberts, Friend; Oakley, Gardner, Sunjic, Bela; McGree; Hogan, Deeney

Reading possible starting lineup:
Southwood; Holmes, Dann, Moore; Ashcroft, Dele-Bashiru, Laurent, Ejaria, Rahman; Swift; Puscas

We say: Birmingham City 1-0 Reading

We expect both teams to continue their respective veins of form. Birmingham are looking increasingly dangerous with Hogan and Troy Deeney forming a strong partnership upfront, while Reading's injury crisis leaves them very vulnerable.

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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