Match Preview – Birmingham City v Middlesbrough   Leave a comment


St Andrews December 1906

This is a rematch of the oldest fixture ever to be played at St Andrews in its 106 year history. Birmingham City welcomed a Middlesbrough team on 26th December 1906 too St Andrews for the grounds  inaugural game which ended 0-0 in front of 32000 fans.

Over the years since that first game a lot has changed, never before has more been at stake than in Saturday’s game, with both Birmingham and Middlesbrough vying for a play off place come the end of the season. Birmingham are struggling to find some sort of form at the moment having only picked up 2pts in their last 4 league games but remain within touching distance of the play-offs being only 1pt behind 6th placed Hull and 3pts behind visitors Middlesbrough who sit in 4th. Many Bluenoses will consider this a must win game and could be a season defining game if Chris Hughton‘s team really do have aspirations of reaching the play offs but it wont be easy against a Middlesbrough team that is unbeaten in their last 3 away games. The fans could be set for good exciting game in a fixture that Birmingham City have held the upper hand in over the years winning 4 and drawing 1 of the last 6 meetings at St Andrews.

Birmingham vs Middlesbrough

Birmingham City have a few knocks with manager Chris Hughton  missing both Spector, Carr through injury and Mutch still suspended.  Blues look set to welcome back fit again David Murphy to the team, after returning to training during the week, the same for Nathan Redmond who missed the midweek defeat away at Leicester. Chris Hughton will be looking for a response from the players and a win that could give them a vital lift in what is certain to be a tense final quarter of the season.

Stand in captain Steven Caldwell said

“The experienced players – me being one of them- need to step up to the plate and perform and help people as much as we can.”

“You have just got to keep bringing that same focus and determination to the game.”If you do that I think that when all’s said and done, the better teams end up at top and we consider ourselves one of the better teams, and it’s now time to stop the talking and improve on the park.

“Everybody just has to be mentally strong and remember how fit and good we are when we do things right”.

Middlesbrough come into the game with a few injuries with Williams, Haroun, Coyne and Mcdonald all ruled out of the fixture and Robson suspended, but a welcome boost for Tony Mowbray will be that Kevin Thomson is all set to be fit after being stretchered off in the last game a home defeat against Leeds. Manager Tony Mowbray will be looking to get back to winning ways but at the same time will need to be careful as Boro have one of the worse disciplinary records in the division and that could be a big worry if they start picking up any more suspensions at this stage of the season.

Tony Mowbray says

“We’ve got to make sure we impose our game on Birmingham this weekend, and their players will be disappointed and frustrated that they didn’t play the way they know they can.

“The reason for that is probably that we go there and make life difficult for them, score a goal on the break or from a set-piece, they gamble to get into the game and we score another one, as we have done all

season.

Stats Head to Head : @ Birmingham

Birmingham City won 30 … Middlesbrough won 8 … Drawn 13

Possible teams :

Birmingham City : Myhill, Ramage, Caldwell(Capt), Davies, Murphy, Burke, N’Daw, Fahey, Townsend, Zigic, King.

Middlesbrough : Steele; Hoyte, Bates (Capt), Hines, Bennett, Robson, Main, Bailey, Hammill, Thomson, Emnes.

Referee : Graham Scott

Prediction : Birmingham City 2 Middlesbrough 1

By Blues Brother (Member of birminghamcityforum.co.uk)

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