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West Bromwich Albion vs Birmingham City. Sky Bet Championship.

The Hawthorns.

West Brom vs Birmingham preview: Championship clash live on Sky Sports Football

Watch live on Sky Sports Football from 2.45pm on Saturday; kick-off is at 3pm

West Brom face Birmingham in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football.

Team news

West Brom manager Slaven Bilic is choosing from a near full-strength squad ahead of his side's return to action against Birmingham on Saturday. Only Jonathan Leko and Nathan Ferguson are unavailable ahead of the Sky Bet Championship fixture, with both players sidelined with long-term injuries.

Leko ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in December and was ruled out for the remainder of the season, while 19-year-old Ferguson was found to be carrying a knee injury in January. Bilic has a wealth of options within his promotion-chasing squad, with Grady Diangana, Callum Robinson, Kamil Grosicki, Matt Phillips, Matheus Pereira and Kyle Edwards all competing for selection.

​​​​​​​Birmingham boss Pep Clotet remained coy on his options ahead of the trip to the Hawthorns. The Spaniard, who announced earlier this month that he will leave as head coach at the end of the season, has injury doubts over two unspecified players who are unlikely to feature against the Baggies.

Midfielder Josh McEachran will be missing after suffering a serious knee injury in February. Clotet confirmed that the club had two positive results for Covid-19 during the earlier rounds of routine testing of Birmingham players and staff but are all-clear heading into the weekend.

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Recent form

With a little over 100 days since the last round of Championship fixtures, recent form will count for little in the nine games that remain. However, prior to football's suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, West Brom played out a stalemate with Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, with Birmingham losing 3-1 at home to Reading.

What the managers said...

West Brom's Slaven Bilic: "There were in good form before the break. Their last 10 games they have lost only once but that doesn't count now. Like our form doesn't count now. What I expect is an extremely front footed team that is very brave. A team that up front can become dangerous in absolutely no time with Lukas Jutkiewicz and Scott Hogan.

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"We have the quality, we have the patterns, we have the atmosphere, we have the gap, we have the motivation. Of course it is going to be difficult, but we are not playing to get a clap or tap on the shoulder - we are playing to get into the Premier League. That requires exceptional performances. Respect goes to everyone. I like Birmingham, but I like my team more."

Live EFL

Birmingham's Pep Clotet: "I'm very satisfied with the physical condition of the team. I've talked to people in the Bundesliga as well as with some of my former colleagues in Spain and I'm convinced that the physical condition of the players at the end of this period might actually be better than everybody thinks.

"We've got to see what clubs have done their homework during this period and what clubs haven't. But I'm convinced we've done our homework and we should be in a good moment physically. I'm less worried than I would be than after a pre-season when there is more risk of injuries."

Opta stats

West Bromwich Albion are unbeaten in seven matches against Birmingham in all competitions (W5 D2) since a 2-0 defeat in October 2006.

Birmingham City have won just one of their last eight league visits to West Brom (W1 D3 L4), a 3-2 win in August 2005.

West Brom are winless in their last two league games (D1 L1), failing to score on both occasions - they last went three consecutive matches without scoring back in December 2017 in the top-flight.

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Only Hull (11) are currently enduring a longer winless run amongst current Championship sides than Birmingham City (5 - D4 L1).

West Brom's Kamil Grosicki has been directly involved in six goals in four league starts against Birmingham City (3 goals, 3 assists).

No Championship team has scored more goals via corners this season than Birmingham City (13), with five of their last 15 league goals coming via a corner.

Prutton's prediction

West Brom had just suffered a mini-wobble before the suspension, and Slaven Bilic will no doubt have them raring to go for this one. They have a six-point gap on Fulham and a win will do wonders for their promotion bid.

Birmingham are in strange position. Pep Clotet will be leaving at the end of the campaign, and only a dramatic turn of form - either way - would see them reach the play-offs or go down. West Brom should have too much for them here.

David Prutton predicts: 3-1 (12/1 with Sky Bet)

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