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3 things to look out for in the Middlesbrough vs Birmingham City match

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Middlesbrough are relishing life amongst the top guns in the Sky Bet Championship, but face a tricky test against Birmingham City this afternoon at the Riverside Stadium. 

Gary Rowett's Birmingham will look to end a barren run of form at Middlesbrough this afternoon (3pm kick-off)

Gary Rowett’s Birmingham will look to end a barren run of form at Middlesbrough this afternoon (3pm kick-off)

Aitor Karanka’s side have look convincing almost without fail this season, and despite the odd blip, such as their lacklustre 2-0 loss to Reading, have looked like they could take leaders Brighton and Hove Albion right to the wire.

Stewart Downing has looked like one of the best players in the division since he re-signed for his boyhood club from West Ham United, and Christian Stuani has added a much needed piece of South American flair to Boro’s diverse squad.

Birmingham have fallen on fairly hard times in recent weeks, and have failed to capitalise on a series of slip-ups from the surrounding Play-Off chasing pack, and have subsequently slipped down to eighth.

They are however only a single point off sixth placed Cardiff City, and with the likes of Demarai Gray and Clayton Donaldson going forward, they are never short of attacking threat.

FootballLeagueWorld writer Harry Smith identifies three things to look out for in this crucial encounter…

1) Birmingham’s spirit

The Blues have been going through a dry patch in recent weeks, and both fans and staff will be eager to avoid losing their shot at the Play-Offs this season.

Manager Gary Rowett has stayed committed to the Birmingham project amid speculation with other managerial vacancies in the division, and now all eyes will be on him to rejuvenate his squad and get them back to their previous level.

2) Attitude of the Middlesbrough players

Although the goals have been flowing for Boro, they must guard against complacency and make sure that even if they are a couple of goals up inside the hour mark, they don’t have any defensive or concentration lapses, and see out the game.

Wins in this type of game can mean the difference between promotion or not, and everyone associated with Boro will be keen to avoid a repeat of last year’s Play-Off despair.

Victory this afternoon and Boro could be back on top of the division.

3) Attacking options

Clayton Donaldson will miss out yet again with a persistent groin injury and the reliable David Cotterill remains highly doubtful with a knee injury.

Birmingham will have to make do with a makeshift frontline against a solid Middlesbrough defence.

If Rowett plays his cards wrong, it could be a difficult afternoon.

Middlesbrough and Birmingham fans… what do you think the score will be this afternoon? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!


Aspiring Sports Journalist and Reading FC fan.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 3 things to look out for in the Middlesbrough vs Birmingham City match

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