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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.

Preston will be without Tom BarkhuizenMatthew OlosundeIsaiah Brown and Josh Murphy all due to injury, while Connor Wickham has seen his short-term contract with the club expire.

Jordan Storey may return to the heart of the defence, which would likely see Brad Potts drop out of the starting lineup and Sepp van den Berg moved up the pitch to play at right wing-back.

Midfielders Ben Whiteman and Alan Browne, who both began on the bench against Cardiff, could be recalled to the first XI ahead of Ryan Ledson and Ali McCann, while Sean Maguire is expected to retain his place in attack alongside top goalscorer Emil Riis Jakobsen, who has netted eight times this term.

As for Birmingham, Marc RobertsLukasz JutkiewiczHarlee Dean and Jordan Graham are all doubtful with injuries, while George Friend will serve a one-match suspension following his dismissal against Plymouth last weekend.

With the Blues short of options at centre-back, Kristian Pedersen may have to fill in alongside Manchester United loanee Teden Mengi, who made his first appearance for the club last weekend since joining the club this month.

Neil Etheridge will continue between the sticks as Matija Sarkic is to undergo surgery on a dislocated shoulder, which could rule him out for the rest of the season.

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Bowyer has revealed that Troy Deeney is ruled out for around four weeks with a thigh injury, so the likes of Chuks Aneke and 17-year-old George Hall will be hoping that they are given a chance in the starting lineup up front.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Iversen; Storey, Bauer, Hughes; Van den Berg, Browne, Whiteman, Earl; Johnson; Maguire, Jakobsen

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Colin, Mengi, Pedersen, Familia-Castillo; Gardner, Sunjic, James; Campbell; Aneke, Hogan

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