Saturday, December 4
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Oct 30, 2021 at 3pm UK
BirminghamBirmingham City
FT(HT: 0-0)
Roberts (53'), Hogan (56')
Sanderson (19'), Gardner (45+1'), McGree (90+3')

Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Birmingham City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Birmingham City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Birmingham City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Middlesbrough play host to Birmingham City on Saturday afternoon looking to post a fourth successive win, a result which would strengthen their position in the Championship playoff places.

Meanwhile, Blues make the long trip to the Riverside Stadium on the back of ending a seven-match winless streak in the second tier.

Match preview

Before the October international break, Middlesbrough had failed to post successive wins, something which naturally kept the club no higher than mid-table.

However, Boro have turned a corner since the middle of the month, recording three victories in a row against Peterborough United, Barnsley and Cardiff City.

While the level of opposition should be taken into account before any of their supporters get carried away, Neil Warnock will be delighted with the maximum return.

Boro have still not scored more than twice in a game this season, but three consecutive 2-0 triumphs have left the team with one of the best defensive records in the division.

Andraz Sporar has also found his feet in the North-East, contributing two goals and an assist during his last two appearances.

Birmingham are still waiting for Troy Deeney to have a similar impact at St Andrew's after making the transfer to his boyhood club in August.

Nevertheless, the forward produced his best performance of the season against Swansea City last time out, getting on the scoresheet as Blues won 2-1 against the Welsh side.

On the back of a narrow defeat at neighbours West Bromwich Albion, Lee Bowyer's side have now collected four points from two games, a necessary return to keep clear of the relegation zone.

While there are currently 12 places separating the two clubs, an away victory on Saturday will see Birmingham move to within two points of their hosts.

Middlesbrough Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Birmingham City Championship form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • W

Team News

Barring any further injury issues, Middlesbrough boss Warnock may feel comfortable with selecting the same starting lineup.

Isaiah Jones and Duncan Watmore are alternatives on the left flank and in attack respectively, potentially getting the nod over Onel Hernandez and Uche Ikpeazu.

Warnock has previously revealed that none of the club's absentees are likely to make their returns before the international break.

Bowyer could see no reason to tinker with the Blues team which started the victory over Swansea.

While Riley McGree made an impact off the substitutes' bench, Scott Hogan is likely to retain his place in the side.

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley; McNair, Bamba, Peltier; Howson, Tavernier, Crooks, Hernandez; Payero; Ikpeazu, Sporar

Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Sarkic; Sanderson, Roberts, Friend; Graham, Gardner, Sunjic, Pedersen; Hogan, Chong; Deeney

We say: Middlesbrough 2-1 Birmingham City

With Blues seemingly back on track, Bowyer will be optimistic that they can earn a positive result in the North-East. However, we can only back Boro to make it four wins in a row, a result which may give them some breathing space in the race for the top six.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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