Preston North End travel to Birmingham City with hosts aiming to halt slide after recent defeats

Birmingham City come into this weekend’s game needing to right a wrong having been beaten last time out.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 4:45 pm

They travel to Deepdale on the back of a 3-0 defeat to struggling Peterborough United.

It meant back-to-back losses for the Blues, having been beaten by Fulham just a few days before.

Boss Lee Bowyer gave a scathing review of the game.

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Tahith Chong is on loan from Manchester United

He lost Gary Gardner to a red card during the match and the midfielder will therefore be ruled out on Saturday.

He said: “It’s not acceptable. We can’t come away from our strengths and today we did.

“I think that the Wednesday-to-Saturday turnaround is hard, Peterborough had the extra days rest and to me, it showed – they were first to every second ball, they were sharper.

“Everything we are good at we just couldn’t physically do. It wasn’t just one or two players, there was a lot of them, near on all of them. There’s a reason and it is three games in one week – it’s too much.

“We have got to recharge our batteries and we have a full week now. Then we can try and put things right again.”

As the Midlands side are out of the Carabao Cup, they have had the benefit of a free week going into tomorrow’s game against Preston.

They have had a mixed start to the season, having won three, lost three and drawn two so far, scoring and conceding 10.

It cannot get much more mid-table for Bowyer’s side who had started strongly, only for that record to look worse after their last two games.

They have had a productive summer and even made late moves for players.

The standout in the squad is former Watford captain and legend Troy Deeney, who left the Hornets to join his boyhood club.

He will partner Lukas Jutkiewicz up top, a formidable and physical duo that the Lilywhites will have to stand up to. They are not one-dimensional, however, and it isn’t all long balls into two battering-ram strikers.

Tahith Chong, on loan from Manchester United, has received plenty of plaudits already this campaign.

He is a tricky winger that works hard down the right-hand side.

Scott Hogan could also be an option, though he had to settle for a place in the bench against Posh, who has proven he is capable of scoring goals at this level.

North End will travel to St Andrew’s with a good record against City.

They have won four of their last five against the Blues, and six in their last nine.

There have been very turbulent times at St Andrew’s in recent seasons but it seems like things have begun to settle down, in no small part due to their former player and current boss Bowyer.

His arrival last season, having been successful at Charlton Athletic, helped keep City in the Championship.

He has built on what he was able to do last season and now has the Blues looking like they could be a top-half side.