Birmingham City vs Preston North End preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Riley McGree of Birmingham City and Daniel Johnson of Preston North End compete for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Birmingham City at Deepdale on October 31, 2020, in Preston, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Birmingham City will be looking to do the double over Preston North End in the Championship when Alex Neil's side visit St Andrews on Wednesday night. 

Aitor Karanka's side will be looking to make it back-to-back wins for just the second time this season after an impressive 1-0 away victory at Middlesbrough courtesy of Scott Hogan's goal. 

Preston will be looking for their first win of 2021 after falling to defeats against Nottingham Forest, Wycombe Wanderers and most recently Bristol City.

The Blues currently sit in 18th place, with their opponents in 13th after yet another disappointing defeat. Three points would be vital for either side going into the second half of the season. 

Team news

Alen Halilovic and Kristian Pedersen will be pushing for starts for Birmingham after returning to the matchday squad against Middlesbrough. 

Gary Gardner is still struggling with a hamstring problem so will miss out on Wednesday's game. Other than Gardner, Blues boss Karanka has a full squad to choose from, with minimal changes expected after such a quality performance away from home. 

Preston manager Alex Neil will be without multiple of his key players once again. Starman Ben Pearson missed out on the 2-0 loss at the weekend and looks set to miss out once more due to recent transfer speculation. Patrick Bauer, Louis Moult, Declan Rudd and Billy Bodin also sat out the game against Dean Holden's side and are all unlikely to feature in midweek.

After being the shining light in a disappointing team display, new signing Ben Whiteman looks set to continue in the middle of the park in place of Pearson. 

Predicted lineups 

Birmingham City (4-2-3-1):

Etheridge; Colin, San Jose, Dean, Friend, Sunjic, Kiftenbeld, Sanchez, Toral, Bela, Hogan. 

Preston (4-2-3-1): 

Iversen; Fisher, Huntington, Davies, Hughes, Whiteman, Browne, Barkhuizen, Johnson, Sinclair, Maguire.

Ones to watch

Scott Hogan - Birmingham City

The 28-year-old striker has found it difficult to find the net after making his loan move permanent in the summer. The Irishman has only netted three times this season resulting in criticism from Blues fans. The experienced Championship frontman grabbed his latest goal at the weekend, and a visit from out of form Preston could be a great opportunity for the former Aston Villa man to not only increase his goal tally but his confidence too. 

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Ben Whiteman - Preston North End

After joining from Doncaster Rovers at the start of the window, Whiteman made his debut away to Bristol City on Saturday and already looks to be a quality addition. The 24-year-old showed brilliant composure on the ball and showcased his range and accuracy of passing. Being a box-to-box midfielder allows the Manchester United trainee to add assists and goals to his already impressive arsenal of talents. Karanka's side will have a tough job in keeping Whiteman quiet as he seems to be the man who is creating the spark for the Lilywhites

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Previous meetings

The two sides last met in October 2020 at Deepdale, with Karanka and his side securing a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Riley McGree and Gary Gardner. However, over the last five meetings, it is Preston who have a better record. The Lilywhites have three victories compared to Birmingham's two. In the last meeting at St Andrews, Alex Neil's side clinched a 1-0 win thanks to Sean Maguire's 23rd-minute strike. 

Last time out.....

How to watch 

Due to the current national lockdown, no fans will be in attendance at S Andrews. This means the game is available on iFollow through Birmingham and Preston's respective club websites, with passes being priced at £10. 

The game kicks off at 19:45 BST on Wednesday 20 January 2021.