Middlesbrough are chasing the first place in the Championship after Bournemouth recorded only a draw in the match against Huddersfield. Now they will travel to Birmingham to finally top the table and put some distance between them and the other Premier League hopefuls.
Middlesbrough exited the FA Cup after a 0-2 loss against Arsenal which prompted Aitor Karanka to state that despite his team not showing the same drive from the match against Manchester City, they took in the respect the Gunners had for them as they fielded the best starting eleven they had instead of playing with the reserves. Middlesbrough are also on an unbeaten run of eight matches in the Championship, and can’t afford any missteps as Derby County are just one point behind them. Konstantopoulos might return in goal after Mejias was deemed “not a cup goalkeeper”, but the rest of the team should be the same as against Arsenal.
Birmingham have a tendency of scoring goals from direct free kicks and their last 5 matches played at home against Boro have seen over 2.5 goals. The hosts are currently on the 13th place in the Championship with 38 points, and are unable to win in 6 matches. However, in those winless matches they only managed to concede 5 goals, including their latest unexpected loss against relegation threatened Millwall. Morrison, Gunning and Green are all on course to full fitness after different ligament injuries and Rob Kieran could make his debut for Birmingham after coming on loan from Wigan Athletic.
Boro’s hero from the clash with Manchester City Lee Tomlin is confident in his team’s abilities to make it to Premier League, and the bookies have him and Leadbitter with 2.87 as anytime goalscorers. Birmingham has 3.80 odds to win, Middlesbrough 2.10 which is the exact betting market we’re going to bet on with 7 units. Last time the two teams met, Boro won with 2-0, and another win like that has 9.50 odds with William Hill. Both teams to score has 1.95 odds, over 2.5 goals 2.20, Boro to lead after 60 minutes 2.37, Birmingham 3.80 and an own goal has 9.00 odds with William Hill.
Birmingham: Team’s Formation
Middlesbrough: Team’s Formation
End prediction for the match:
Middlesbrough to win outright