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Birmingham City FC v Reading FC: Match Preview

It's a trip to the West Midlands for Reading FC this weekend as the Royals look to extend their unbeaten run into 3 matches; Phil Owtram provides a comprehensive preview of the game.

Michael Steele/Getty Images

Birmingham City FC v Reading FC
League Championship
Saturday 13th December 2014, KO 3PM
St. Andrews Stadium
Referee: Nigel Miller

Reading (14th)

Form (all comps): DWLLW
Reading v Bolton: 0-0
Norwich v Reading: 1-2
Cardiff v Reading: 2-1
Reading v Charlton: 0-1
Reading v Rotherham: 3-0

Those Royals fans that attended Saturday’s 0-0 draw against Bolton saw no goals at the Madejski Stadium for the first time since March when Reading played out a goalless draw against Derby County. For some it was a welcome result, which extended Reading’s unbeaten run to 2 matches, the first time they’ve achieved that since August. For others is was a poor result against a side with the worst away record in the Championship and a game where the home sides lack of a clinical edge saw the chance for back to back wins pass them by. Whichever way you look at it Reading shut out a team that were unbeaten in their last 4 matches of which they had won 3.

It also gives them this much talked about platform to build from; a defeat would have wiped out the positive impact of the Norwich result and brought confidence back down to low ebb again. This draw at least keeps the team looking forward positively and allows them to go to Birmingham, a team below them in the table (usually a good omen) and be confident about getting a result.

Birmingham (19th)

Form (all comps): LWWDW
Blackpool v Birmingham: 1-0
Birmingham v Nottingham: 2-1
Rotherham v Birmingham: 0-1
Birmingham v Cardiff: 0-0
Birmingham v Watford: 2-1

Birmingham warmed up for Saturday’s game with a 1-0 away defeat to their former manager’s bottom of the table Blackpool. Lee Clarke was sacked by the West Midlands club after a poor start to the season but he had the last laugh on Saturday bringing the Blues 5 match unbeaten run—since their 8-0 home drubbing at the hands of Bournemouth—to an end. Saturday’s result means they still have 3 wins in their last 5 games and new manager Gary Rowett has lifted his team out of the bottom 3. Confidence is starting to return to a team that was certainly in a negative place under Lee Clarke.

Last five meetings

22 Mar 2014 Birmingham City v Reading W 1-2 League Championship
28 Sep 2013 Reading v Birmingham City W 2-0 League Championship
28 Apr 2012 Birmingham City v Reading L 2-0 League Championship
06 Nov 2011 Reading v Birmingham City W 1-0 League Championship
03 May 2009 Reading v Birmingham City L 1-2 League Championship

Head to Head

This will be the 29th meeting between these two sides and it is Reading that hold the superior record with 10 wins to Birmingham’s 8, with 10 ending in a draw. In their two meetings last season Reading were victorious in both encounters, winning 2-0 at Madejski Stadium thanks to a brace from Danny Guthrie. The game at St. Andrews in March also saw the Royals take all three points in a 2-1 win, this time thanks to a brace from now departed Jobi McAnuff. These two wins meant Reading have a record of 3 wins in the last 5 matches against the West Midlands club, only one of which came at St. Andrews. If you look at Reading’s last 10 visits to Birmingham in league and cup they have led to 4 wins 5 losses and a draw.

Team News

Reading: Nigel Adkins has shed some light on the current group of sidelined players and has said that none will be back in action in the immediate future. Jem Karacan is still sidelined with a knee injury that has kept him out since last September, Danny Guthrie (calf), Anton Ferdinand (calf), Jamie Mackie (hamstring), Pavel Pogrebnyak (knee) and Hope Akpan (shoulder) are also all sometime away from being ready to return. 

Birmingham: Wes Thomas is available for selection again after serving his 3-match suspension for lashing out at Cardiff’s Sean Morrison in November. Nikola Zigic rejoined the club this week after leaving in the summer and could be in line for an appearance from the bench.

Prediction: Birmingham 1-2 Reading

How do you think we'll fare? Leave a comment below with your prediction.