Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Birmingham City 

Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Birmingham City 

West Bromwich Albion play host to Birmingham City on Friday evening knowing that victory will take them back to the top of the Championship standings.

On the back of four defeats in five outings, Blues make the short trip to The Hawthorns looking to put some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone.

Having witnessed his side run riot at Cardiff City three days earlier, West Bromwich Albion head coach Valerien Ismael made the decision to name an unchanged side for the game against Stoke City.

The Frenchman’s call ultimately backfired with the Baggies under-performing during a 1-0 defeat, their 10-match unbeaten league record coming to an end.

Ismael was the first to acknowledge that his players had struggled at the bet365 Stadium, but the result against one of their promotion rivals will be regarded as a minor blip.

An extended break from action and another derby clash could prove to be a blessing in disguise for West Brom ahead of the next stretch of six matches.

While Karlan Grant has recently moved to the top of the goalscoring charts, Ismael will not be satisfied with just four strikes coming from one of his frontmen.

Sticking with the subject of goals and Birmingham have now gone five games without contributing from open play in a Championship fixture.

Not so long ago, Lee Bowyer was regarded as the right man to improve Birmingham’s fortunes on the pitch, but the former midfielder now faces a battle to win over the supporters.

Continuing with a back three against Nottingham Forest failed to pay off, Blues succumbing to a 3-0 scoreline against opponents who are currently viewed as rivals in a relegation battle.

Still four points above the bottom three, Bowyer will not panic at this stage, but he needs more from the likes of Troy Deeney who has failed to make an impact since his switch from Watford.

West Bromwich Albion Championship form:
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Birmingham City Championship form:
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We say: West Bromwich Albion 2-0 Birmingham City
There is little doubting that an extended break came at the right time for Blues, and Bowyer will expect some kind of response on Friday night. However, we cannot look past a win and a clean sheet for the home side, who will be eager to bounce back from losing their unbeaten record.

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