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Boro v Birmingham 1-1 (Fletcher)

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MRF2018_Fixture_MiddlesbroughvBirmingham

Middlesbrough v Birmingham

Tuesday, 19:45 - The Riverside Stadium

"Well, at least I had the Christmas period off......"

 

The Form

Middlesbrough last sixLLDDWW

Two consecutive defeats on the telebox within the last week sounds ominous, but if we had got started quicker in both games the results could have been oh so different as Boro seemed to grow into both games. A brilliant December results-wise, which saw us pull away from relegation and had the more optimistic of us dreaming of sneaking into⁹ the playoffs. As Woodgate struggles through a very congested January while trying to keep players fresh, results are starting to suffer due to rotation (Rudy F'ing Gestede as a lone striker?!?). Hopefully this is just a blip against better teams and not the MotM curse rearing it's ugly head.

 

Birmingham last six: DWWLLD

Brum have started to pick up a bit of form - and a couple of red cards - in their last 6 games, with goals aplenty being both scored and conceded, but only 2 losses registered. Former Tony Mowbray signing Lukas Jutkiewicz leads the line for Brum, having scored 9 goals so far this season. Pep Clotet's side currently sit in 18th, 1 point and one place below Boro, having scored 34 and conceded 45 so far this term.

 

The Line-Up

It's a shame that this game was moved forward, as Woodgate alluded to in his post match interview it doesn't leave much time for anything but recuperation, and a bit more rest would be nice.... however, Birmingham do have a day less, so every cloud! 

Hopefully we will see Fletch start up front again after his cameo against Fulham, and maybe Wing on for Clayton.

You also have to wonder how long Coulson and Spence can go without a rest, but who would you replace them with at the minute?

 

lineup.png

 

Woody-Vision

Woodgate's pre-match conference can be found here.

"Birmingham have been inconsistent, a bit like us, but they are a good team with some really good players," he said.

"With [Lukas] Jutkiewicz up front, anything can happen so we need to be on our a-game.

"They did really well against us down there, they were the better team by a mile, so we really owe them one.

"It's a big game for us, we've got a few home games coming up and our home form has been good so hopefully we can continue that."

"Britt trained [Monday] and he won't be fit for Birmingham but he will for Blackburn," Woodgate said.

"I'm really looking forward to having him back, he's a really good player and you know what I think of Britt."

 

The View From The Other Side

You can see what the Birmingham City fans think of the match here. They certainly aren't in the best of spirits reading that!

 

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We will win if Woody has realized we need to push up 15 yards and shut down the opposition midfield. The team works in unity. Now in the last two games we only played the second half so the team should be fresh enough. 
I don’t see any reason why heads should drop because, they came out in the second halves with intent, which indicates belief and commitment and neither score line was embarrassing. I am expecting they will bounce back and up the anti. 

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10 day break following this game will allow plenty of catch up rest for the whole squad.

If we press higher and make a go for it in the opening period of the game then we should have enough to beat Birmingham who are currently below us in the league.

I believe opposition teams will now have an early go at us because clearly getting the first goal is important for both teams.

Think this will start as the Hull game and as long as we keep 11 on the pitch we will have a comfortable win.

No need for Saville and Clayton to start together in my opinion.

If there are other games being played we should be on the red button but if it is only us playing then goals as they go in will be shown on SkySports

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                    Pears

           McNair  Howson  Fry

Spence                                 Coulson

               Wing  Saville

        Nmecha      Tavernier

                   Fletcher

 

I think Nmecha needs some gametime, Roberts on the bench is a good option, we know what he's capable of and I think Tav simply can't be dropped at this point. Otherwise the rest of the lineup speaks for itself given our injury problems.

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29 minutes ago, Denzel Zanzibar said:

                    Pears

           McNair  Howson  Fry

Spence                                 Coulson

               Wing  Saville

        Nmecha      Tavernier

                   Fletcher

 

I think Nmecha needs some gametime, Roberts on the bench is a good option, we know what he's capable of and I think Tav simply can't be dropped at this point. Otherwise the rest of the lineup speaks for itself given our injury problems.

I did debate putting Nmecha in but I didnt know who to drop! I think Roberts has performed pretty well so far but as you say, cant really drop Tav at the minute

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As long as Roberts is fit I would play him every game.  He is by far our most creative outlet imho.

 

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We definitely should be looking to win this one. Both to get things back on track, following our defeats at Spurs & Fulham and to restore confidence & morale within the club.

While Birmingham will be no push-overs, they certainly don't pose the sort of threat our previous opponents have. That, plus home advantage (even if it is a Tuesday evening), should see the lads making every effort to bounce back.

As some have already mentioned, we need to start playing from the first whistle - not the second half. While we may be fatigued from the festive fixture crush, every other club has the same problem to deal with, so lets not be using that as an excuse.

We've GOT to start playing like we want to score (and win) from the kick-off. Not sit back and let other teams work us over for 20-30 minutes before we start trying to attack.

Only 3 points will do from this one. Anything else and I will be very disappointed.

Prediction: Boro 2 - 1 Birmingham

 

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I probably would drop Tav for this out of anyone to be honest. Bench him at least. He's looked absolutely shattered. Nmecha for Tav, maybe. Nothing to do with his performances, of course.

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3 hours ago, Denzel Zanzibar said:

                    Pears

           McNair  Howson  Fry

Spence                                 Coulson

               Wing  Saville

        Nmecha      Tavernier

                   Fletcher

 

I think Nmecha needs some gametime, Roberts on the bench is a good option, we know what he's capable of and I think Tav simply can't be dropped at this point. Otherwise the rest of the lineup speaks for itself given our injury problems.

Mental.

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31 minutes ago, Kelloe said:

Mental.

Why? I don't think we've seen enough of Nmecha or utilised his pace. I want to see more of what he can do, otherwise what was the point in loaning him?

I suppose resting Tav and seeing what Nmecha and Roberts can do together is a good option as well, like!

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I'll second that lineup OMG. Tav and Roberts are doing very well in bringing the ball forward quickly. That allows space for Fletcher, Wing and whoever of the two hasn't got the ball. Nmecha looks like a decent option off the bench but I don't think he's done enough yet to start ahead of Tav, Roberts or Fletcher.

It'll be a tough game this one, but I think we'll get back to winning ways here. 2-0 winners. That should give us 10 days of calm.

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Any lineup should be good enough as long as we press higher up the pitch. We looked good 2nd half vs Tottenham and grew into the game against Fulham without ever looking dangerous; so I'm hoping we can go back to putting a full game together and come out with the win.

Having seen Roberts so far he is quite clearly our most creative outlet; the question is can anyone else get on the same page as him? 

Thinking 2-0 here myself as well.

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Brilliant opportunity to get 3 points at least 4 days before most other teams, and have a rest and revitalise the squad.

They got a good win in their last match, and we looked very out of sorts, it's an opportunity for both teams.

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Really hope Roberts starts - he has a spark and energy we have missed since Traore left. Massive game. A win and we definitely go into the break looking up rather than down . Come on Boro 

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I'd consider 4-3-3 for this. Spence has looked knackered the last couple of outings. Two CBs to watch Jutkewitz, but get mcNair to be touch tight and follow him around, and Clayton at CDM to watch their number 10. Then let the movement of the front 3 pull them ragged.

 

...............Pears

Howson...McNair....Fry...Coulson

....Wing....Clayton...Saville

Roberts....Fletcher....Tav

 

Subs:- Stojankovic / Wood / Johnson / Liddle / Malley /  Gestede / Nmecha

 

 

 

 

 

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