Birmingham vs West Brom predictions: Baggies can edge derby showdown
- Birmingham are 18th in the Championship, West Brom sit sixth
- West Brom boss Carlos Corberan signed a new deal until summer 2027 on Tuesday
- Recommended bet: West Brom to win
After correctly predicting a draw between Blackpool and Huddersfield Town on Tuesday, Aidan Perkins is back with another prediction, and he expects West Brom to stay in the play-off picture by beating Birmingham City at St Andrew's on Friday night.
The Baggies sit sixth in the Championship but can jump ahead of Watford directly above in the table if they see off local rivals Blues, who are down in 18th place.
Albion should go into the West Midlands derby in good spirits after head coach Carlos Corberan, who was heavily linked with the vacant manager's job at Leeds United, signed a new long-term contract on Tuesday.
Birmingham ended a run of five straight league defeats with a dramatic late 4-3 win at Swansea last weekend but face a tough task against a West Brom side who have won 10 of their previous 12 matches in the second tier.
On-loan winger Reda Khadra is a major doubt for Birmingham due to a hamstring injury, but both centre-back Harlee Dean and forward Troy Deeney are hoping to be available for Friday night after being pictured in training this week.
Dean has been out since early November with a calf injury, and Deeney has missed the last three matches with a calf strain.
Midfielder George Hall, who has not played since the 0-0 draw with Blackpool on December 10, is also back in training following his troublesome calf and hamstring issues and could return to the Blues squad.
The Baggies are without first-choice keeper Alex Palmer again after he was ruled out for around six weeks with a knee injury. Deputy David Button will start after he came in and kept a clean sheet last time out against Coventry.
January signing Nathaniel Chalobah is pushing for his first West Brom start after joining from Fulham, but Okay Yokuslu and Jayson Molumby have impressed of late in midfield, so he may have to settle for a place on the bench again.
Marc Albrighton, who joined on loan from Leicester at the end of January, should keep his place down the right, while Daryl Dike is expected to lead the line for the visitors.
Birmingham have won the last two meetings between the sides, beating the Baggies 1-0 at home towards the end of last season before triumphing 3-2 at the Hawthorns in September, when Scott Hogan scored a memorable hat-trick.
When Corberan was appointed West Brom boss on October 25, they were second bottom, but he has won 10 of the 13 league games he has been in charge of to take them up to sixth.
Birmingham have lost their last four home games in all competitions, three in the league against Hull, Middlesbrough and Preston and then, most recently, 1-0 against Blackburn after extra-time in their FA Cup fourth-round replay.
Even though Blues will be keen to feed off the positivity generated by their win at Swansea, when they scored twice in injury time to pick up all three points with another defeat looming large, taking on an Albion side who have only lost to leaders Burnley and Coventry in the league since November underlines just how difficult Friday's game could be for John Eustace's men.
Corberan's side have safely negotiated similarly tricky away dates at Sunderland, Bristol City and Luton since mid-December, and, while they may have to grind out a result in what should be a competitive derby, the visitors can edge it.