Birmham vs Mboro
Sky Bet Chship
7:45pm Friday 4th October
St. Andrews Stadium
Birmingham confront Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Birmingham welcome Jacques Maghoma along with Marc Roberts back in their squad. As he fights with a calf issue, while winger Maghoma was also rested, defender Roberts missed the defeat at Wigan with a hamstring.
Boss Pep Clotet has confirmed the duo are in contention, stating:Marc and Jacques are good, no problem. Present signing Josh McEachran is alsogetting closer to being involved, together with another U23 run-out pencilled in for Friday.
Middlesbrough will assess the fitness of returning midfielder Jonny Howson ahead of the excursion. Tuesdays 1-1 draw at home to Preston was Howsons very first game in 3 weeks following hernia operation and boss Jonathan Woodgate is going to be keen to ease him back gently.
Howson was one of four changes into Boros beginning line-up in midweek, together with Marcus Tavernier, Marcus Browne and Daniel Ayala also coming in. Although Woodgate has indicated a change in strategy they impressed and will aspire to keep their starting places. You cant always be pretty and nice, he explained. Sometimes you have to grind it out, graft and also do the horrible things of this match and well be doing this on Friday.
Neither aspect comes into this match in the top of shape. Middlesbrough have not 13 points so far this year, three more than Birmingham, but have dropped three matches on the twist. Wigan, Derby and Preston have conquered them in a row, heading into this battle.
Middlesbrough will also be without a win in 3, but did pick up a point at home to Preston in midweek to end a run of two straight defeats, including a 4-1 thumping at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. They start the weekend 20th in the table.
Pep Clotet:I put myself under increasing strain to acquire since I think we have the ability within this club to not only bounce back but to reverse effects. I dont feel any kind of pressure in the club or any portion of it – we are all very conscious where we come from, all of the work we had to put in the summertime, how the problem was.
Were focused on the fact that the team was able to do the best start in 11 decades, were four points off the play-offs, we have more points than a season. I think its a moment where all of us need to sit down, calm down and concentrate a great deal on trying to get the outcome against Middlesbrough.
Jonathan Woodgate:It is not how you begin the season its how you finish. I believe thats the thing. I was chatting to Alex (Neil) after the Preston match and he stated last year that they had five points after 10 games.
It is very important to just ride it out, you stay together as a golf club and the fans stay together, they remain patient, I know its difficult for them, however, thats what you require.
Woodgate was at Real Madrid, won England caps and played in the Champions League, however nothing in his own profession has so much felt better for him than leading out his hometown team as a director.
The defender took charge in the summer after the departure at the club. He knows the value of the club.
Merely getting the task in the first place made me immensely proud, Woodgate told Sky Bet. To be the manager of my club, who Ive supported since I was six, its a gigantic achievement for me personally.
Birmingham are having an inconsistent effort. They have appeared just like they might have a push for the top six and excellent, and other times they seem as though they could easily slip towards the relegation zone.
Middlesbrough fans are going to want to give Jonathan Woodgate time to get things because of his relations with the club, however 20th in this stage isnt good enough to them. I think the Blues will nick that one.
David Prutton predicts: 1-0 (11/2 with Sky Bet)