For the fourth successive season, Preston have been knocked out in the third round of the FA Cup after losing 2-1 in extra time to Cardiff last weekend.
Daniel Johnson’s 54th-minute penalty cancelled out Isaak Davies’s first-half opener, however it was the Bluebirds who had the last laugh as Mark Harris scored a 116th-minute winner to send the Welsh outfit through to the fourth round.
Ryan Lowe would have welcomed a cup run for the Lilywhites, but now he and his players can focus fully on 25 Championship matches, with the hope of climbing towards playoff contention.
Preston have won their first two league games since Lowe took charge last month, beating both Barnsley and Stoke by 2-1 scorelines. The last Lilywhites manager to win his first three league matches in charge was Gary Peters back in December 1994.
The Lancashire-based outfit will be confident of a third successive Championship win on Saturday, as they face a Birmingham side who they have lost only twice against in their last 16 league encounters.
Birmingham extended their winless run across all competitions to five matches when they suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to League One side Plymouth Argyle last weekend.
George Friend’s two bookable offences in the space of 10 second-half minutes reduced Blues to 10 men before they were forced into extra time. Ryan Law’s 104th-minute strike proved to be the winning goal for the visitors and condemned Lee Bowyer’s men to their sixth defeat in their last nine matches.
Video Links Stream 1 Stream 2 HD Stream 3 HDStream 4 HD Alternative Stream available on (justgoal.co)
Bowyer will have been disappointed that his side were unable to boast a single shot on target against lower-league opposition. Nevertheless, Birmingham can now prioritise maintaining their Championship status for another year.
Since Blues cruised to a 5-0 victory away at Luton Town in August, their form on the road has dipped considerably, winning only one of their next 10 matches and scoring just four goals in the process.
Birmingham did, however, secure a 2-1 victory at Deepdale last season, so they can head into Saturday’s game with some confidence of claiming another positive result