Stoke City are back in Championship action this weekend with a trip to relegation-fighting Birmingham.
Stoke are hoping to cement their top half status in the final six games of the season while Birmingham know they still need points to make sure they stay in the division.
New Blues manager Lee Bowyer has overseen two wins and a draw in his first four games to make sure they are seven points above the drop zone – but third-bottom Rotherham have four games in hand.
Here is everything you need to know ahead of this fixture.
When does the match kick-off?
It’s a 3pm kick-off on Saturday, April 10.
Is it live on TV?
Not this time. It will not shown on the Sky Sports red button either. Highlights will be shown on EFL on Quest at 9pm on Saturday evening, repeated at 10am on Sunday.
The Championship matches on TV this weekend are Millwall v Swansea (12.30pm, Saturday) and QPR v Sheffield Wednesday (3pm, Saturday).
How can I follow it?
Stoke City are offering a streaming service through their website. Match passes for fans in the UK and Ireland are £10 and show the full game live.
Passes for fans elsewhere in the world are £7. Overseas supporters can also buy a season stream pass for £140 or a monthly stream pass priced at £20.
You can also follow the game as it happens with us at StokeonTrentLive.
We’ll have all the build up, team news, action and reaction through the afternoon.
Sam Clucas made his comeback from a double hernia operation as a substitute in Monday’s defeat to Millwall, when James McClean (foot) also made his first appearance at club level since February.
Morgan Fox and Alfie Doughty could play some part before the end of the season but the other injured players are expected to be out until at least the summer.
Joe Allen, Nathan Collins, Tyrese Campbell, Jack Clarke and Tashan Oakley-Boothe are missing.
Michael O’Neill said after the Millwall game: “The squad we had today is pretty much the squad we will have to go through to the end of the season.
“There’s only Morgan Fox and possibly Alfie Doughty who could play before the end of the season, but certainly not for the next few games.”
Lee Bowyer has confirmed Jon Toral suffered a hamstring injury in Birmingham City’s goalless draw against Brentford on Tuesday.
Toral came on as a substitute for the second game running, replacing Alen Halilovic 15 minutes into the second-half.
But the attacking midfielder lasted just 12 minutes before limping off down the tunnel to receive treatment, with Rekeem Harper coming on in his place.
Former Stoke forward Scott Hogan has been managing a back problem but came off the bench to score the decisive late winner against Swansea from the penalty spot last Friday.
Make your prediction
Make your prediction: Birmingham v Stoke City
0+ VOTES SO FAR
- Birmingham City have won eight of their last 11 home league matches against Stoke City (D3).
- Stoke haven’t lost four consecutive away league games against Birmingham since December 1954.
- Birmingham have won three of their last four home league games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 32 at St Andrew’s (W3 D9 L20).
- Stoke are looking to win back-to-back away league games for the first time since October 2020, with their 2-0 win at Bristol City last time out ending an 11 game winless run on the road.
- Despite conceding over a goal a game on average this season (44 goals conceded in 40 games), no side has more Championship clean sheets this season than Stoke (19).
Played for both clubs
Cameron Jerome might have been a good signing for Stoke City and Birmingham if only to stop him lining up in the opposition.
Jerome, now 34, has good memories playing for both clubs. He helped Birmingham win promotion to the Premier League twice, and the League Cup. He scored for Stoke at Dynamo Kiev and one of the best goals, or certainly most fiercely hit, at the bet365 Stadium – against Southampton.
But his record against them both is pretty mean too: seven appearances against Stoke, six wins and six goals, including three wins out of four in Birmingham colours.
He has also scored three in two appearances against Birmingham – and seven in eight against another of his former clubs, Cardiff. And six in 11 against another of his old clubs, Derby. That’s one way to catch managers’ eyes.
Jerome is one of 16 players who have made the switch from St Andrew’s to Stoke, a route that was particularly well travelled when Lou Macari was in charge at the Victoria Ground.
Vince Overson, Nigel Gleghorn, Ian Clarkson, Simon Sturridge, Jason Beckford, Graham Potter, Keith Downing, Paul Peschisolido and Richard Forsyth all made the trip up the M6 between 1991 and 1996, while John Gayle – who had played under Macari at Birmingham, arrived in the Potteries from Burnley.
Before then, Howard Kendall became Stoke’s first official player of the season after joining from Birmingham in 1977.
Yet the pick of the players who made the short leap north is probably Jimmy Greenhoff, who became Stoke’s club record £100,000 signing in 1969 – yet it almost never happened.
He later recalled: “I’d shaken hands with Tony Waddington… but on the same day I went home and the phone rang. It was Bob Russell from the Daily Mirror and he said Everton are coming in for me.
“I put the phone down and then it rang again and who was it? Squeaky voice, played for Everton. Bally. He said, `We’re coming for you mate, we’re signing you.’
“But I stuck to my word and signed for Stoke. Everton then went and won the league, so how do you think I felt?
“But we went on to win the League Cup and I’m sure that meant more to me than being with Everton and winning the league. Stoke had never won anything, had they? So you are in at the start of something good and I was there for it.”