Birmingham City news: Sky Sports pundit issues prediction for Blues' Barnsley showdown

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Birmingham City will be aiming to increase the gap between them and the relegation zone in the Championship to six points today when they head to Oakwell to face in-form Barnsley.

Having backed up their 2-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers last weekend with a spirited draw at Huddersfield Town in midweek, the Blues know that they will have to be on top-form against the Tykes in order to secure a positive result.

Reinvigorated since the arrival of manager Valerien Ismael last October, Barnsley have won their last six league games and are within touching distance of the play-off places in the Championship.

Whilst Sam Cosgrove is set to miss Birmingham's trip to Yorkshire, Scott Hogan and Gary Gardner will be pushing for starts after making substitute appearances against Huddersfield.

Rekeem Harper meanwhile faces a late fitness check before the Blues' showdown with Barnsley.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of this particular fixture, pundit David Prutton has predicted that Birmingham will be defeated by the Tykes.

The 39-year-old said: "What a run it has been for Barnsley.

"Six wins on the spin at this level is incredible, and they have so much momentum right now.

"Birmingham are out of the bottom three but it's still all very congested near the bottom.

"They have had a decent week and will feel more confident, but the Tykes are just too good right now."

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When you consider just how impressive Barnsley have been in recent weeks, Birmingham may struggle to compete this afternoon.

However, given that the Blues have lost just four of their 17 away league games this season, Karanka may be quietly confident in his side's ability to produce a positive display at Oakwell.

By keeping the game tight, Birmingham may be able to frustrate Barnsley which in turn could give them the opportunity to take advantage during the closing stages of the clash.

Providing that the Blues do indeed secure an eye-catching result today, they may be able to use the momentum gained from this fixture to push on in their battle for survival.

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