Birmingham City v Blackpool: Team news, predicted line-up and pre-match quotes from Neil Critchley

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Blackpool head to the second city this weekend looking to claim their first win in five.

 

The Seasiders held high-flying West Brom to a goalless draw on Tuesday night, picking up a point for the third game running.

It leaves Neil Critchley’s men in 11th place in the Championship and four points adrift of the top six.

This weekend’s opponents Birmingham City, meanwhile, languish in 17th, having lost two of their last three.

Lee Bowyer’s men stopped the rot in midweek with a draw against neighbours Coventry City, who sit in a play-off place.

The Blues have won three of their nine home games this season, drawing twice and losing the other four.

Team news

Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer

Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer

There’s an outside chance Richard Keogh could come back into contention for Blackpool tomorrow.

The defender has missed Blackpool’s last few games with a calf injury he sustained in the 1-0 defeat to Stoke City.

The 35-year-old was due to return to full training yesterday though, giving him a slim chance of appearing in this weekend’s trip to Birmingham City.

Reece James (back) and Gary Madine (ankle) suffered knocks during Tuesday night’s goalless draw against West Brom, but they’re not thought to be too serious.

Elsewhere, Chris Maxwell (quad), Richard Keogh (calf), Luke Garbutt (knee), Kevin Stewart (ankle), Matty Virtue (ACL) and Grant Ward (achilles) are all sidelined.

Birmingham, meanwhile, are also expected to be without a host of first-team players.

Both Ryan Woods and Gary Gardner are suspended following recent red cards, while Marcel Oakley, Maxime Colin, George Friend, Jordan Graham, Tahith Chong and Kristian Pedersen are all out injured.

Neil Critchley’s pre-match comments

“Our form away from home is good. It’s not too dissimilar to our home record. We try to be the same team home and away and approach each game the same.

“Our away record has been slightly better, but if you asked me why I wouldn’t be able to give you the answer because our approach is the same. Perhaps it’s how the opposition approach the game being at home.

“We go to Birmingham full of confidence off the back of a good result away from home at Swansea, which is another tough place to go.

“We’ll have to think carefully about what team we pick and the formation for this game.

“They’re a physical team who get the ball quickly and get the ball into the box a lot.

“It’s a team full of men, full of experience but they’ve got some quality in the right areas of the pitch.

“At home, I’m sure they’ll be looking to bounce back from the run of results they’ve had.

“The league table is so tight they’ll be thinking if they win this game they can kickstart and jump back up the table.

“It’s another tough game away from home against a big club.”

Opposition view

“It’s another tough game,” manager Lee Bowyer said.

“They’re a good side, they’re well organised, difficult to break down and they try and play at the right times.

“Jerry Yates up top, I like him. I think he’s a good striker. His movement is very good, he can finish and he wants to run in behind.

“Their wide men are tricky, they get good deliveries into the box, they play two strikers which is something I obviously like to do, so it’s going to be tough.

“Whenever teams come up from League One, the other teams underestimate them and I know that from the side I brought up before (Charlton Athletic).

“But they’re a good side. They finished four or five places before whoever just stayed in the league last year, so there’s not much in it.

“They have good players and there’s teams in League One with good players and they score goals. There’s a lot of players playing in League One that should be playing in the Championship.

“But they choose to stay in League One because of the wages they get there.

“They’re a good side, Blackpool. Their manager has done well, he tries to play a certain way and he’s put a good group together with some experience and some youth.”

Pool’s predicted line-up (442): Grimshaw, Gabriel, Ekpiteta, Husband, James, Dougall, Wintle, Mitchell, Anderson, Lavery, Madine