Stoke City may have claimed their first victory of the league season against Preston North End last time out, but they will have a handful to deal with in Birmingham City.
Aitor Karanka’s men are yet to lose since the start of the 2020-21 Championship campaign, with a big pat on the back for Jeremie Bela after his 90th-minute penalty rescued a point for the Blues last time out in their 1-1 draw at home to Rotherham.
Stoke City’s Lee Gregory netted The Potters’ first goal of the season last time out but they will want to make amends for their loss in their first Championship home game of the season versus Bristol City.
Birmingham will want to keep their unbeaten start going but know they will have to work for it against a Stoke outfit that beat Aston Villa 1-0 in the League Cup in midweek.
Stoke City vs Birmingham City Head-to-head
Stoke won this encounter last season after the coronavirus lockdown in July, coming out 2-0 winners.
Before that win, they had lost three on the bounce against Birmingham in the Championship and had not beaten the Blues in the second-tier since January 1997, although they triumphed over them 3-2 in the Premier League in 2010.
That run included a 7-0 home thrashing by Birmingham in January 1998.
The first-ever game between these two sides was way back in 1894 when Birmingham were called ‘Small Heath’.
They drew 2-2 that day but since then, Stoke have come out the victors on 44 occasions while Birmingham have won 27 match-ups.
Overall, there have been 22 draws between the two outfits.
Stoke City vs Birmingham City Team News
Although nowhere near fit enough to play first team football, the Potters received some encouraging news in regards to long-term injured pair Ryan Shawcross and Joe Allen, with Michael O’Neill revealing that they are making great strides in their recoveries.
Tom Ince most likely won’t be called into the matchday squad again while Harry Souttar and Nathan Collins could retain their places after impressive displays against Aston Villa.
Injured: Joe Allen
Doubtful: Ryan Shawcross,Thibauld Verlinden
Gary Gardner is expected to line up for the Blues despite numerous reports linking him to Bournemouth in recent weeks.
Stoke City vs Birmingham City Predicted XI
Stoke City predicted XI (3-5-2): Adam Davies, Nathan Collins, Harry Souttar, Morgan Fox, Tommy Smith, James McClean, Jordan Thompson, John Obi Mikel, Sam Clucas, Sam Vokes, Lee Gregory
Birmingham City predicted XI (4-4-2): Neil Etheridge, Maxime Colin, Harlee Dean, George Friend, Krisitan Pederson, Ivan Sanchez, Gary Gardner, Adam Clayton, Jeremie Bela, Lucas Jutkiewicz, Scott Hogan
Stoke City vs Birmingham City Prediction
Stoke will be buoyed by their midweek victory and will be determined to seal their first win at the Bet365 in the league this 2020-21 campaign.
Karanka’s Birmingham do seem to manage to get results out of games, though, even when they haven’t played particularly well.
Stoke may have the lion's share of possession but a single strike from the Blues could be a lethal one. I'm predicting a draw in this encounter.
Prediction: Stoke City 1-1 Birmingham City