Preview: Birmingham City vs. Stoke City

Preview: Birmingham City vs. Stoke City

Birmingham City and Stoke City square off in the Championship on Easter Monday each looking for the win which would realistically secure their Championship status for another season.

The teams occupy 16th and 14th position in the standings respectively after recent improved runs of form at the second tier.

Given their ongoing off-the-field issues, there has been a need for Birmingham to put some distance between themselves and the relegation zone to ease concerns about their Championship status.

However, John Eustace and his players have delivered in recent matches, collecting 10 points from five fixtures to sit eight points clear of the bottom three with six games remaining.

Since a 3-0 defeat at Watford, Blues have posted 1-0 wins over Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City and earned a 1-1 draw away at potential relegation rivals Reading.

Coming from behind to earn a share of the spoils at the Royals could prove decisive at the end of the season, yet Eustace will be eager to keep the West Midlands outfit out of trouble without relying on any other side.

Birmingham have lost eight of their 20 league games at St Andrew’s this season, but they have prevailed in their last two games on familiar territory and conceded just 21 times in total.

Highlighting their strong defensive record is important at a time when Stoke have scored an astonishing 13 times in their last four away fixtures.

After collecting seven points at Swansea City, Sunderland and Middlesbrough, the Potters went to Coventry City and pulled off a 4-0 success.

Alex Neil has no doubt been left furious at conceding a lead at home to Bristol City on Friday, going down by a 2-1 scoreline to keep the club 10 points adrift of the playoffs.

Nevertheless, when looking at the bigger picture, the Scot will acknowledge that Stoke are finally on an upward trajectory under his leadership, with 21 points coming from the last 13 matches.

Birmingham City Championship form:

Stoke City Championship form:

We say: Birmingham City 1-2 Stoke City
With the pressure off each of these teams to a certain extent, any result is possible. For us, though, Stoke’s superior goal threat should prove pivotal, and we are backing the Potters to extend their excellent run of form on their travels.

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