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Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Goals could flow in crucial Championship contest

Birmingham and Leeds to play out thriller

Pontus Jansson of Leeds celebrates beating Sheffield Wednesday
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports 1, 7.45pm Friday

The Sky Bet Championship campaign is heading for a thrilling finish and the battle for the playoff places will be tense for all those involved over the final two months.

Fourth-placed Leeds are in the thick of the action and, while they should finish in the top six, nothing can be taken for granted with a classy Fulham side waiting for any slip-ups from those above them.

Leeds have a tricky trip to Birmingham and they have drifted in the market. A better bet could be that both teams score.

Garry Monk's side have kept only one clean sheet in their last 15 matches on the road and one in seven games overall. That came last time out but it required a penalty save from Rob Green against Jordan Rhodes as Leeds edged out Sheffield Wednesday 1-0.

Chris Wood hit the net on that occasion, taking his tally to 23 goals in all competitions this season and the former Birmingham man will no doubt fancy his chances of bagging against his old club.

Only Brighton have shut out Leeds in their last ten Championship away contests and Birmingham are not as secure defensively as they were under Gary Rowett with Gianfranco Zola.

A much-needed 2-1 win at Wolves last week will have boosted morale in the Blues camp but three clean sheets in 25 outings is nothing to boast about.

Their two clean sheets under Zola have come in home games, but Fulham had been reduced to ten men and Nottingham Forest are a poor side.

Birmingham shipped four times in their last home match - a heavy
4-1 loss to QPR - and, while the Wolves win was welcome, more is needed before it is possible to say the Blues truly have turned the corner.

City have won just two of their last 15 matches in all competitions and five of the last seven ended in defeat.

However, there was a clear effort and determination at Molineux which suggests the players are behind Zola and that can only bode well as he looks to get the supporters fully on board with his ideas.

On-loan Lukas Jutkiewicz missed that trip but he returns and is the biggest goal threat in the Birmingham squad.

Jutkiewicz has scored 11 times for City and will probably enjoy playing for a Zola-managed side.

Birmingham's possession statistics are on the rise and a more enterprising style of play could result in more goals at both ends.

Recommendation
Both teams to score
1pt 28-29 188Bet

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Team news
Birmingham
Jonathan Grounds and Lukas Jutkiewicz are back and Jacques Maghoma is close to a return. Michael Morrison and Clayton Donaldson are out but Paul Robinson was successful in his appeal against last week's red card.

Leeds
Charlie Taylor could return to the squad. Lewie Coyle and Tyler Denton are sidelined.

Key stat
Both teams have scored in five of the last six meetings.

A much-needed 2-1 win at Wolves last week will have boosted morale in the Blues camp but three clean sheets in 25 is nothing to boast about
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