Birmingham City predicted XI vs Fulham: Scott Hogan rewarded with start after goal

Fulham have already beaten Blues twice this season

Birmingham City are back in Championship action on Tuesday evening when they travel to west London to take on league leaders Fulham.

It will mark the third time the two sides have met already this campaign with the Blues coming out on the wrong end of the result both times.

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A 2-0 defeat in the second round of the EFL Cup was followed up by a 4-1 hammering at St Andrew’s just three weeks later - so it’s fair to say Lee Bowyer knows exactly what the Whites are capable of.

And sadly for Birmingham, Fulham haven’t really shown any signs of slowing down.

They’ve scored 13 goals in the last two games alone, conceding just twice and at the moment look clear favourites to lift the Championship trophy come May.

So, whilst on paper things don’t look promising for Blues - this is football and stranger things have happened.

Despite being on the wrong end of the 1-4 scoreline in September, Birmingham created so many chances that day and could have scored four themselves.

They’ve shown they can worry this Fulham side at times but there is no denying they will have to be at their very, very best from minute one to take anything from this.

Here’s how Lee Bowyer could line-up for the fixture on Tuesday evening.

Goalkeeper

With Matija Sarkic no longer between the sticks, the place belongs to Neil Etheridge and will do so unless a drastic dip in form occurs.

Defence

The back three looked relatively solid against Preston and although George Friend sees himself return from suspension, he may make more sense to let him sit out of this one.

With that said, Teden Mengi, Marc Roberts and Kristian Pedersen could all keep their places.

Gary Gardner of Birmingham City reacts towards Match Referee, Andy Davies at full time after the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Birmingham City at Deepdale

Midfield

A tough one to call against such a solid Fulham side. Jordan James has been more than capable since his introduction to first team football but is a trip to Craven Cottage one step too far for the youngster?

Maxime Colin and Jeremie Bela will no doubt keep their spots at wing-backs but I do think a few changes come in the central areas.

Ryan Woods provided the assist for Scott Hogan’s equaliser and seems to offer more all round than Ivan Sunjic so I’d be tempted to bring him in.

Gary Gardner should keep his place for his sheer experience as much as anything and I see young James dropping out for Onel Hernandez to play more of a CAM role than a forward role on Tuesday.

Attack

It was a surprise to not see Scott Hogan start following the injury to Troy Deeney but after an important equaliser late on he will fancy himself from the off this time partnering the big man, Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Scott Hogan of Birmingham City (L) celebrates after scoring their side's first goal with Kristian Pedersen during the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston North End and Birmingham City at Deepdale

Birmingham City (3-5-2): Etheridge; Pedersen, Mengi, Roberts; Colin, Bela, Woods, Gardner, Hernandez; Hogan, Jutkiewicz

BirminghamWorld’s football reporter Ben Ramsdale will on hand to provide live minute-by-minute updates on Tuesday evening’s game and you can follow along here.

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