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‘Trumps everything’ Crowley, Mrabti and Maghoma assessed as our writers pick Birmingham City’s team – Brian Dick


Birmingham City go for a third win in succession when they face Preston North End at St Andrew’s on Saturday.

The clubs are separated by four places in the Championship table but are actually level on 13 points, two of four teams to have accrued a baker’s dozen from their opening seven games.

So assuming there are no Kieftenbeld-Rudd-esque moments on Saturday expect a tight match played between two teams who are ranked among the lowest when it comes to shots per game.

Blues are second bottom, averaging 9.1, while Preston are fifth bottom with 10.0, which makes the fact they are the division’s leading scorers all the more commendable.

This is your round up of all things Birmingham City; the one-stop shop that will keep you updated on the latest goings on at St Andrew’s and beyond.

Transfers, injuries, match-days and managers, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll be bringing the very latest on Blues throughout week and around the clock.

Make sure you keep yourself updated with our handy daily catch up…

Must-reads

  • Charlton fans blown away by Blues and Jude – READ
  • Pep discusses Blues’ excellent away win – READ
  • Bowyer pays tribute to Blues fans – READ
  • The all important player ratings – READ

 

North End will be boosted by the likely return of the combative Ben Pearson, recipient of 45 yellow and four red cards in the last three seasons.

Blues hope to have Fran Villalba available again and Alvaro Gimenez and Jacques Maghoma ready for more minutes.

So which team should Pep Clotet pick? Brian Dick and guest writer Jaquob Crooke have their say.

Brian Dick

BLUES (4-4-2): Camp; Colin, Dean, Roberts, Pedersen; Crowley, Davis, Sunjic, Bellingham; Mrabti, Jutkieiwcz.

Every instinct is telling me to go 4-2-3-1, with Dan Crowley as a No.10 and Bellingham and Jacques Maghoma as wingers – but that would be too unfair on the team which won at Charlton last time out.

No-one deserves dropping after that collective display, no matter how much experience or potential, particularly when Blues produced the most cohesive and fluid performance of the season.

At this stage of the campaign continuity trumps everything – so it’s same again.

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What will be the result when Birmingham City face Preston North End on Saturday?



Jaquob Crooke

BLUES (4-2-3-1) Camp, Colin, Roberts, Dean, Pedersen, Davis, Sunjic, Crowley, Bellingham, Maghoma, Jutkiewicz

Jacques Maghoma made his return as a second-half substitute at Charlton and took to the game like a duck to water, carrying the ball past defenders with ease and giving Blues greater width when attacking.

At home, I believe Maghoma would provide more of a dangerous outlet against a resilient Preston than Kerim Mrabti.

With Dan Crowley retaining his place on the right, I’d opt to keep Jude Bellingham in the side but operating behind Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Bellingham’s natural role is playing behind the striker and it would be more beneficial for Blues should he be able to collect the ball centrally in pockets between Preston’s defence and midfield.

Ivan Sunjic and David Davis look to have struck up a fruitful partnership in the engine room of Blues’ midfield, while the back four looked formidable on Saturday and Marc Roberts continues to consolidate his spot in the starting XI with his mature defensive performances.



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