Preview: Birmingham City vs. Plymouth Argyle – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Championship clash between Birmingham City and Plymouth Argyle, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Birmingham City will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to the Championship season when they welcome newly-promoted Plymouth Argyle to St Andrew’s on Saturday afternoon.

Blues had another day to remember at Ashton Gate against Bristol City last weekend, whereas Argyle suffered last-minute heartbreak at home to Southampton on the same day.

Match preview

Birmingham City manager John Eustace reacts on March 14, 2023© Reuters

Birmingham made it three successive wins in all competitions by beating Bristol City 2-0 at Ashton Gate – a result which propelled John Eustace‘s men to fourth in the early-season standings.

Koji Miyoshi got the Blues party started in Bristol with a thumping volley just before the half-time whistle, and with Nigel Pearson‘s Robins pushing hard for an equaliser after the break, a deadly counter-attack from the visitors was expertly finished off by Lukas Jutkiewicz.

The 34-year-old target man has scored two goals in just 23 minutes of Championship football this season, and the former Burnley forward may be rewarded with a place in the starting XI at the expense of Scott Hogan this weekend.

Another sell-out crowd is expected at St Andrew’s on Saturday afternoon, and although minority owner Tom Brady is unlikely to be in attendance this time, excitement around the club will continue to grow.

Blues boast the division’s most-stubborn defence – alongside Ipswich Town and Watford – with veteran goalkeeper John Ruddy conceding just one goal in three league contests so far.

Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher celebrates after the match on January 8, 2022© Reuters

Plymouth suffered their first loss since returning to the second tier last weekend, as the Green Army were defeated at Home Park in the most heartbreaking of fashion against Southampton.

A trademark Nathan Tella curler for the Saints opened the scoring in Devon, only for Ryan Hardie to equalise following the half-time break, but former Birmingham marksman Che Adams was in the right place at the right time to net a 94th-minute winner for Russell Martin‘s men.

The Pilgrims have been competitive in each of their Championship games since the beginning of the season, and with the likes of Bali Mumba and Morgan Whittaker joining Hardie in attack, it appears that Argyle have enough to trouble most second-tier defences.

Midfielder Jordan Houghton believes that his side need to iron out a few errors that have crept into their play at the start of this term, with the primary aim this season being to secure the club’s second-tier status as quickly as possible.

Plymouth have not travelled to face Birmingham in a league fixture for over a decade, but a clash in the FA Cup back in January 2022 ended in success for the visitors, with Ryan Law netting the decisive goal in extra time for Steven Schumacher‘s men.

Birmingham City Championship form:

Birmingham City form (all competitions):

Plymouth Argyle Championship form:

Plymouth Argyle form (all competitions):

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Team News

Plymouth Argyle's Macaulay Gillesphey celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on February 5, 2022© Reuters

Birmingham have confirmed a potentially season-ending knock for one of their rising stars in the build-up to Saturday’s match, with midfielder Alfie Chang suffering a serious knee injury in training this week.

Siriki Dembele and Ethan Laird will both miss this weekend’s clash after being forced off in the early stages at Ashton Gate, meaning goalscorer Miyoshi will earn a first start of his Blues career.

Eustace opted to play Juninho Bacuna at right-back when Laird was substituted last time out, but the Birmingham boss may be cautious of using the Curacao international in a full-back role on Saturday considering the talents of Argyle winger Mumba.

Plymouth are currently light in the centre-back department, with 27-year-old Macauley Gillesphey sidelined due to a knock sustained in his side’s pre-season preparations.

Lewis Gibson and boyhood Birmingham fan Dan Scarr are expected to be the visitors’ centre-back pairing at St Andrew’s, with Joe Edwards and Aston Villa loanee Kaine Kesler-Hayden occupying full-back positions.

Luke Cundle was handed his first start for the Green Army in the defeat against Southampton, and the Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee should retain his spot in the middle of the park alongside Houghton and Finn Azaz.

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Ruddy; Bacuna, Sanderson, Long, Buchanan; Bielik, Sunjic, Anderson, James, Miyoshi; Jutkiewicz

Plymouth Argyle possible starting lineup:
Hazard; Edwards, Scarr, Gibson, Kesler-Hayden; Azaz, Houghton, Cundle; Whittaker, Mumba, Hardie

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We say: Birmingham City 1-1 Plymouth Argyle

Birmingham have started the campaign in promising fashion, but injuries to Dembele and Laird are set to make earning a maximum significantly harder this weekend.

Plymouth may be looking to set their sights higher than just Championship safety this term, and we expect the Green Army to return to Devon with a point on Saturday evening.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

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