Author: Graham Tower
Published: 12:23 28/11/2012
Middlesbrough seek to sustain their promotion challenge on Friday and will go level on points at the top of the Championship if they beat Birmingham at St Andrews in front of Sky cameras.
Boro bounced back from two successive defeats to beat Huddersfield 3-0 at the Riverside on Tuesday night and climbed into third place behind Cardiff and Crystal Palace after Leicester’s 1-0 defeat at Leeds.
Birmingham have dropped to 19th position after failing to win in the last four games but bookmakers have installed the home side as favourite in the outright match betting. Best odds of 6/4 are available at Boylesports who are also top price for the Boro at 9/5. Draw backers will find Stan James best at 5/2.
Lee Clark watched his Birmingham side struggle to cope with conditions at Blackpool on Tuesday but Curtis Davies’ second half headed goal proved enough to help the Blues avoid a third consecutive defeat. Back on home soil, St Andrews is not the fortress it once was. Birmingham have won one and drawn one of the last five in front of their own supporters and this represents a great chance for Boro to build on the last win and at decent odds to come away with all three points.
Tony Mowbray’s side have picked up one point from the last two away games, but Cardiff (1-0) and Nottingham Forest (0-0) have been in significantly better form than Friday’s opponents. Boro have a good record on the road this season with four wins and a draw from nine games and will not lack in confidence when they arrive in the Midlands.
Australian Scott McDonald is Middlesbrough’s leading scorer in the Championship with six goals. Like many goalscorers, the former Celtic striker can be a bit ‘streaky’ and he ended a run of four games without a goal with his brace against Huddersfield. Previously McDonald had scored four in three games and Coral offer 2/1 to score at any time and 7/1 to be first player to score.
Birmingham have only failed to score once in seven games and Boro have a penchant for winning by the odd goal. Ladbrokes bet 10/1 for Middlesbrough to win 2-1 which may appeal to punters looking for better odds than the recommended 9/5 for the away win.
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