Often Partisan

Middlesbrough Preview in Association with EZE Group

Blues take on Championship high flyers Middlesbrough tonight trying to reverse a run of fortune that has seen them not pick up a win in five games – although four of those have been draws. Boro will be hoping that their weekend cup exertions won’t take too much out of their team, knowing that a point will see them return to the top of the pile.

Middlesbrough

Boro sit third in the table on goal difference from Bournemouth and Derby, 2 points ahead of 4th placed Ipswich. Prior to the Arsenal game, Boro had won five straight games in all competitions including a stunning 2-0 win over Man City at the Etihad Stadium in the FA Cup. However, in that run they only kept one clean sheet in the league – away to Brentford at the end of January.

Dimi Konstantopoulos should return in goal in place of Tomas Mejias while defender Tomas Kalas and midfielder Adam Forshaw come into the squad again as they were ineligible for the cup game.

Blues

Rob Kiernan could make his first start for Birmingham City as Gary Rowett looks to freshen up his team with Jonathan Spector possibly the man to miss out.. Dimmi Gray could come in for Lloyd Dyer on the left and Wes Thomas could return from injury to replace Clayton Donaldson up front.

This is a very tough game for Blues; Boro are a very good side and they will be on the front foot against Rowett’s men. However, this might work in Blues’ favour with their counter attacking game but the key battle is the man behind the striker. Derby stifled Andy Shinnie and crucified us at home; Reading came to us to attack but didn’t shackle the Scot and got stuffed 6-1.

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11 Responses to “Middlesbrough Preview in Association with EZE Group”

  • Kazakhblue says:

    Lets hope Gary has a Plan B & C if Boro try a stifling and containing game, I feel that Blues should edge this by a single goal, KRO

  • DoctorD says:

    1-0 Blues. You heard it here first.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Nice to talk about the football on the pitch than the circus off it !!! …a draw would be a good result tonight but I can’t see it because either boro will go full on and stifle us and do a derby or were catch them on the break and dominate there 18 yard box and win by a couple so a game difficult to predict but well done Doctor D for that and I would snap your hand off for a 1- 0’mate .. Lets hope so! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    It could well be a dour game, with Boro attacking us and us trying to stop them. It’s ok breaking at speed, but all that counts for nowt if we can’t put away the chances we create. In the last 6 games (in all competitions) we’ve had 4 draws and 2 defeats. You can’t say we’ve played that badly in any of those games. It matters not how Rowett dresses it up in facts and stats, the only fact that matters, is that we just haven’t taken our chances. It really is that simple. If Donaldson goes another game, maybe two, without scoring, surely we have to try other options.. because if Cotterill hits a bad patch too, we’re fecked!

  • Paul Harrison says:

    Scoring is clearly a problem for us just now, but that is as much to do with the style of play as it is about Donaldson. We do not get anywhere near enough goals from other parts of the pitch, with only Cotterill’s [plus Caddis’s penalties] bringing anything significant to the party. I accept Donaldson needs to put away some chances, but I still feel he’s the best of our options.

    Another problem with dropping Donaldson is that we will miss his hold-up play [not great, but he does a decent job] and his winners in the air – outside of the box he wins much more than Zig. His work rate is excellent and I think we get decent value for money from that LC signing.

    By all means bring on Thomas for his pace and ‘running the channels’ or as one of a two, but he’s not going to solve our scoring problems.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I didn’t actually suggest dropping Donaldson as such Paul, just that if our main striker can’t get goals, we have to try other options, like altering the system to include Thomas maybe, to give the guy some help. It doesn’t matter what system you play though, none of that matters at the moment the ball comes off either head or boot. Admittedly, some chances are harder than others, but simple chances need to be buried.

  • StaffsBlue says:

    A win tonight not only gives us another 3 points to add to any possible FL points deduction, but would also put us goal difference behind 10th place Forest. The play-offs are beyond us now I feel, but if we’re ever going to crack that top 10, now is the time to start… because after the next 10 days, even that could be out of our reach.

  • The Flying Pig says:

    Play-offs are definitely beyond us and we need to focus on getting as many points as possible in case the FL do their worst.

    We tend to play well against the better teams [Derby excepted] so lets hope for a good performance tonight.

    Boro are good going forward so it might be a tough debut for Kiernan if he makes the team.

    • StaffsBlue says:

      I can’t see Rowett changing the back four to accommodate Kiernan at the moment tbh. We’ve already had one change, due to Morrison’s injury and Spector and Robbo are used to each other now. To throw Kiernan into the middle of defence against the league leaders may be one change too many. If he does play, I think it would be as defensive midfield, instead of either Gleeson or Davis… but I think he’d most likely be used there as a sub later in the game if we need to close things down. But then, we have Reilly to do that job too. I think the lad may have to wait a couple games to get in.

  • Dave Mann says:

    Dissapointed last night that we didn’t win because we were the better team and we played the team we should play except for Morrison , I thought taking of gray again and bringing on dyer was a bad decision but when Thomas came on be looked sharp and impressive … As for cotterill that was a bad performance and he is the one that should have been substituted but overall it was a good performance and now looking forward to Brighton!! Kro

  • StaffsBlue says:

    Disappointed that the players and management weren’t brave enough to go for the second goal to kill it off. I think that, if we’d brought Thomas on earlier and made the extra man count, we’d have won that, because at 2-0, I doubt Boro would have come back. It was blatantly obvious that the longer it stayed at 1-0, the more likely Boro would score.

    Rowett did extremely well to claw us up the league, but 7 games without a win says it’s not quite working anymore. It will be interesting to see if and how he’ll implement changes.


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