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Millwall vs Birmingham City. Sky Bet Championship.

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Millwall vs Birmingham preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football

Watch live on Sky Sports Football from 7pm on Wednesday; kick-off is at 7.45pm

Wednesday 26 February 2020 23:54, UK

Millwall vs B'ham City

Millwall face Birmingham in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports Football.

Team news

Millwall boss Gary Rowett must decide whether to name an unchanged team for the fourth game in a row when his former club Birmingham visit The Den. The Lions lost at Wigan on Saturday and Matt Smith, Connor Mahoney and the fit-again Mason Bennett could all come into Rowett's thinking.

Bennett made his debut for the club as a substitute against the Latics, having been sidelined with an ankle injury following his loan move from Derby in January. Frank Fielding, Shaun Williams and Ben Thompson remain out. Thompson has seen a specialist, seeking the go-ahead to resume training before a likely return next month.

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In-form Birmingham could be unchanged for the third match in succession, following back-to-back home draws. Blues head coach Pep Clotet looks like having the same squad available, with Kerim Mrabti (hamstring) and Jacques Maghoma (quad) still out and Josh McEachran absent for the rest of the season after suffering a serious knee injury.

Maikel Kieftenbeld is fit again after recovering from knee ligament damage and the midfielder has been an unused substitute in the last two games. Birmingham travel to London looking to extend an 11-match unbeaten run in league and cup.

Recent form

Millwall's play-off hopes were dented at the weekend when they lost 1-0 to Wigan at the DW Stadium. They had, however, beaten Preston 1-0 a week earlier and held Fulham to a 1-1 draw three days prior to that.

Birmingham, meanwhile, strengthened any hopes they might harbour of a top-six finish with a 3-3 against Sheffield Wednesday. Pep Clotet's team have gone eight games unbeaten since a 3-2 defeat to Wigan on New Year's Day.

More on this story

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What the managers said...

Millwall's Gary Rowett: ""I will look for a reaction. We've got two home games coming up, and they are the type of games that we have performed really well in previously. That's the challenge in this division, you see teams up and down the league that will win a game and then will lose a game, you get that elation and then that disappointment, you have to show that reaction to bounce back.

"We are at a point now where you can't afford to drop off for two of three games because your season is over. That's the frustration [with Saturday] because I felt it was a game that was there for us to get something out of."

Birmingham's Pep Clotet: "We have been a little bit better away than at home.That all comes down from the fact that all football is different away than it is at home. And that has suited us. But that doesn't mean it applies for tomorrow or when we are next at St. Andrew's.

"This is a new game with new challenges and there's another three points to play for. I think our mentality is the same. We have a lot of confidence in our strengths. But we understand we have weaknesses as well and we work hard to hide them and not let the opposition exploit them. That's what makes us slowly keep on improving and competitive."

Talking point: Can either Millwall or Birmingham make the top six?

With 12 games left to play, there is plenty of room to manoeuvre in the Championship promotion race and both of these sides are still gunning for a play-off spot. Gary Rowett has improved Millwall's fortunes greatly since taking over in October and they will be aiming to go nine unbeaten in south east London.

The Lions almost got there two seasons ago, while their opponents may take inspiration from the Fulham's stunning second half of the the same campaign that saw them sneak in to finish third after a bleak start. Is history about to repeat itself?

Latest highlights

preview image 1:47
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Wigan and Millwall.
preview image 2:14
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday.

Opta stats

Millwall have won four of their last six league matches against Birmingham City (W4 D1 L1), though the reverse meeting this season ended 1-1.

In all competitions, Birmingham have only lost one of their last 11 away matches against Millwall (W6 D4 L1).

Latest EFL odds

Latest EFL odds

Check out the latest EFL odds and more from Sky Bet...

Millwall have only managed to win one of their last six league games (D2 L3), failing to score in three of those matches.

Only Preston (17) have picked up more Championship points than Birmingham City in 2020, with the Blues winning 16 points from their nine matches (W4 D4 L1).

Millwall striker Matt Smith has scored seven league goals against Birmingham City, at least four more times than he has versus any other side during his EFL career.

Prutton's prediction

I'm intrigued by this one. These two teams will need plenty of luck if they are to realise any play-off ambitions and I think they will be going for it, so there should be goals.

Millwall are always a tough prospect at The Den, but in the deadly form Blues striker Scott Hogan is in, I do wonder if they will be able to take much more than a point.

David Prutton predicts: 2-2 (16/1 with Sky Bet)

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