Sky Sports EFL pundit David Prutton has issued his prediction for the Championship clash between Birmingham City and Derby County, forecasting a 1-1 draw that will see the Rams climb out of the bottom three for the first time since October.
The Blues head into the game having taken just one point from their last four games and off the back of a goalless draw with Nottingham Forest.
Derby, still led by interim manager Wayne Rooney, will be looking to bounce back after seeing their unbeaten run ended in heartbreaking fashion on the weekend with Preston North End scoring a controversial 96th-minute winner.
Both sides will be eyeing up all three points in this one but, in his predictions for Sky Sports, Prutton has suggested that honours will be even at St Andrew’s this afternoon.
He explained: “Birmingham have struggled to build a rhythm so far and streaky spells have left them around mid-table, but while a gap between themselves and the drop zone currently stands at nine points, three defeats in the last four have probably set alarm bells ringing.
“Wayne Rooney’s unbeaten start as interim Derby boss was ended by Preston at the weekend but with the way in which they’ve been performing, I think they might just grind out a point here. It could even be enough to move them out of the bottom three for the first time since October.”
That result would see the Rams move out of the bottom three, even just until Rotherham United’s game later this evening.
Rooney looks set to be without two of his key attacking options with Tom Lawrence likely to be sidelined due to injury and Martyn Waghorn suspended.
Curtis Davies will also be absent as he recovers from surgery, while the main concern for the Blues will be whether Alen Halilovic will be fit after coming off against Forest.
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Both sides will head into this confident they’re capable of winning the game, which makes it a really interesting tie.
Neither has consistently been able to produce the killer blow in matches this season despite often keeping things tight and with that in mind, it’s hard to argue with Prutton’s prediction here.
Another draw looks likely for both sides but this one might be settled by a mistake or a moment of magic.