STAR PREVIEW: Birmingham City v Middlesbrough

It’s Friday Night Football for Birmingham and Middlesbrough but neither side has been celebrating a lot in recent weeks and this could be a quiet start to the weekend. Birmingham are mid table, a position which they won’t be too unhappy with, but they have hit a bad slump of form and their 1-0 loss at Wigan was their third straight Championship loss.

The winning goal came from a Lee Camp error as he let a long range shot slip under his body, but Birmingham created precious little and despite plenty of effort, none of their 12 shots were on target. Before that they’d played better, but had still contrived to lose their previous two games, including a 3-2 reverse at Derby County in which they recovered from two goals down but then missed a penalty and conceded the winner shortly afterwards.

That is at least better form than Middlesbrough, who have struggled badly under Johnathan Woodgate so far this season. They were improved in a 1-1 draw against Preston at the Riverside when the arrivals of Daniel Ayala, Jonny Howson, Browne and Marcus Tavernier led to a much better performance.

That improvement was needed because beforehand they’d lost 4-1 to Sheffield Wednesday previously, and a bigger worry might be their away form. They’ve taken two points from the 12 on offer away from home so far, losing 1-0 at Cardiff the last time they were on the road, and it’s very hard to trust them on the basis of one improved performance.

Birmingham City v Middlesbrough
19:45 Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Ultra HD

(Maximum 10 matches, Since 2000)
JAN 2019 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 1-2 Middlesbrough
AUG 2018 CHAMPIONSHIP Middlesbrough 1-0 Birmingham
MAR 2018 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 0-1 Middlesbrough
NOV 2017 CHAMPIONSHIP Middlesbrough 2-0 Birmingham
APR 2016 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 2-2 Middlesbrough
DEC 2015 CHAMPIONSHIP Middlesbrough 0-0 Birmingham
FEB 2015 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 1-1 Middlesbrough
AUG 2014 CHAMPIONSHIP Middlesbrough 2-0 Birmingham
APR 2014 CHAMPIONSHIP Middlesbrough 3-1 Birmingham
DEC 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 2-2 Middlesbrough

Neither of these sides makes a huge amount of appeal given their flaws and this could be a game in which the draw is the best option.

RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-100 points)
BACK DRAW 5 pt at 21/10 with

PROFIT/LOSS SINCE JAN 1 2017: PROFIT 233.56 points
(excluding Political Bets posted 8 August, Premier League ante-post, Cameron Brown football bets, Blue Horseshoe)