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Preview: Rotherham United v Blues

Blues have won more than half of the previous 34 clashes.

BCFC

Blues travel to Rotherham United on Sunday lunchtime for a game in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

The trip to South Yorkshire is the first of Blues’ final five Sky Bet Championship fixtures and comes with the team on a three-game unbeaten run. This sequence includes taking points off both Swansea City and Brentford who occupy two of the league’s play-off places.

Last time out, Lee Bowyer’s side made it a trio of consecutive home wins as they overcame Stoke City at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium.

Weekend opponents Rotherham, who continue to fulfil outstanding fixtures, were seen off by Coventry City on Thursday evening just two days on from beating Queens Park Rangers.

Separated by six points in the standings ahead of the midday kick-off at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, there was nothing between the teams when they faced off in September. But a look at more recent meetings points towards a Blues victory, with defeat against the Millers in 2015 the first setback since 1989.

Overall, Blues have won more than half of the previous 34 clashes.

THE OPPOSITION:

Rotherham may have two games in hand on all of their relegation rivals, but at the time of writing sit four points shy of 21st position and the possibility of safety. They did, however, boost their hopes of survival by winning one of their midweek games as they beat QPR 3-1 on Tuesday night.

That amounts to their third win in ten, with Paul Warne’s side taking a point per game in that period as they look to make it successive seasons in the second tier for the first time since suffering relegation in 2017.

Their cause could have been aided further had the woodwork been kinder to United against Huddersfield Town last weekend, but they will perhaps have greater regrets over the recent home defeat to bottom side Wycombe Wanderers.

From a Birmingham perspective, former Blues defender Wes Harding is the only Millers player to have featured in all 39 league outings. Top-scorer for Warne’s team with ten is Michael Smith; both he and Freddie Ladapo – who has nine counters – were on target in the aforementioned success over QPR.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues extended their winning run at St. Andrew’s to three matches with success over the Potters. In a professional performance and controlled display, Bowyer’s men ended what appeared to be a first-half stalemate when Lukas Jutkiewicz headed in Marc Roberts’ cross. The striker then added to his and Blues’ tally for the afternoon with a decisive second goal when he reacted first to the loose ball from Riley McGree’s shot after the break.

Rotherham were edged out by fellow relegation rivals Coventry on Thursday night. Playing their second game in 48 hours, the Millers struggled to create any clear-cut openings but did rattle the upright through Lewis Wing in the first-half. At the other end, they were surviving virtue of Viktor Johansson’s goalkeeping heroics, but he could do nothing to prevent the Sky Blues’ winner when Leo Ostigard headed in from close range in the 70th minute.

WE MEET AGAIN:

Blues 1 Rotherham United 1, 26 September 2020

It was a tale of two penalties when the pair met earlier in the season.

Having denied one another for nearly 90 minutes, Ben Wiles won the Millers an 87th-minute penalty which was converted by Kieran Sadlier in what appeared to be the winner.

But the home side showed real character to bounce back and were awarded their own spot-kick moments later after Billy Jones fouled Jon Toral.

This was put home by Jeremie Bela before Blues almost found a winner when Maxime Colin saw his last-gasp goalbound attempt blocked.

BLUES TEAM NEWS:

Jon Toral (hamstring) and Alen Halilović (ankle) are out through injury.

HEAD-TO-HEAD:

Blues wins: 18

Draws: 10

Rotherham United wins: 6

LAST FIVE MEETINGS:

Championship 26 Sep 2020 – Blues 1 Rotherham United 1

Championship 22 Apr 2019 – Rotherham United 1 Blues 3

Championship 06 Oct 2018 – Blues 3 Rotherham United 1

Championship 14 Apr 2017 – Rotherham United 1 Blues 1

Championship 18 Oct 2016 – Blues 4 Rotherham United 2

BLUESTV:

Supporters in the UK can watch this game live on Sky Sports Football, with coverage starting at 11.30am.

Only viewers in selected countries will be able to watch our game against Rotherham on BluesTV. There is no pay-per-view for this fixture. Further details are available here

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee – Tim Robinson

Assistant Referees – Shaun Hudson and Lee Venamore

Fourth Official – David Webb

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