Market: Middlesbrough win
Odds: 4/5 @ 888sport
Looking to make an immediate return to winning ways this weekend, Middlesbrough will welcome a struggling Birmingham to the Riverside on Saturday lunchtime.
Starting with the hosts, after watching title-chasers Brentford end their FA Cup adventure in the capital last weekend, there is no doubt that Middlesbrough will be glad to make a return to home soil on Saturday. Managing to make a string of improvements since turning to veteran boss Neil Warnock, the Reds have largely impressed many across the Championship this season. Knowing that victory this weekend could see them break into the play-off positions, it appears that their shock 2-1 defeat away at Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the month was just a minor blip. Last seen on second-tier duties when landing a deserved 3-1 win away at debutants Wycombe, the former Cardiff boss has seen his side collect 12 points from just their last five Championship appearances. More impressive, winning each of their previous four straight fixtures at the Riverside, Middlesbrough will be hugely confident of extending on that tally this weekend.
As for the visitors, crashing out of the FA Cup thanks to what turned out to be a routine 3-0 defeat away at Premier League giants Manchester City last weekend, Birmingham find themselves in the midst of a real crisis. Still struggling to find their feet under Aitor Karanka, the Blues have freefallen their way down the Championship table. Firmly looking over their shoulder at the drop zone and with the mood around St. Andrew’s at a continued low, the former Nottingham Forest boss has seen his side fail to win any of their last seven straight matchups across all competitions. Even more concerning for Birmingham, last seen on Championship duties when getting hit with a sluggish 2-0 defeat at home against Blackburn, Saturday’s guests have collected just a single point from their last six second-tier contests. With that run highlighted by a 4-1 drumming when they faced off against Boro last month, we’re backing a similar outcome this weekend.
Bet: Middlesbrough 4/5 to beat Birmingham City in Saturday’s Championship matchup @ 888sport