Can We Win Away at St Andrews?
By Rob Nichols
Friday 16 Mar 2012 16:51:00
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Boro try to bury all memories of that massively disappointing defeat to Leeds by winning away at Birmingham tomorrow. It will not be easy to take points from Chris Hughton’s side. Once they recovered from the trauma of relegation and losing so many players Birmingham have become a real force, fighting on three fronts in two cups and the league. They are particularly strong at home.


Playing away from the Riverside holds no fears for players or fans of Middlesbrough. I asked manager Tony Mowbray whether he was pleased that the next two games against the Brummies and West Ham are away from the Riverside and the ghosts of that damaging defeat.

Fly: Are you pleased in some respects to be playing the next two games away from home after the defeat on Sunday?

TM: "No. I don’t think so. I would prefer to play at home every game because I think ultimately you should enjoy playing in front of your own supporters and I think the team’s more comfortable and relaxed.

And yet ultimately you get judged by results. So no. If you put it into context before the West Ham defeat we went a lot of football matches without losing. OK there were 7 or 8 draws, too many in there but we didn’t lose a football match this season for a long, long time.

Yet away from home the margins are a bit tighter. You are more likely to lose away from home than at home I would suggest. As I think we have maybe lost more away than at home, it will be pretty close, maybe four each.

The answer to your question is no I think we would always prefer to play at home."


Although Birmingham have proved very difficult to beat at St Andrews their home record has also been blemished by a lot of draws. I put this point to Tony.

Fly: Birmingham have played a lot of games and had a tremendous record but have drawn a lot at home. Maybe a similar pattern to Boro?

TM: "And West Ham. I think football is what it is. I think the nature of the league is that teams are very well organised these days, hard to play through, hard to play round. They don’t give you goals cheaply.

If you break it all down we have failed to score in games regularly. Again on Sunday no goals as in the Reading game no goals. Not for the want of trying, not for the want of chances.

But I say I think we are not the only team that has found it more difficult and I don’t think we should be focussing on the negatives, we should be focussing on the positives that we are fourth in the league and despite the fact we’ve struggled at times at home we are still on paper as we stand with 11 games to go the fourth best team in this league and we have an opportunity  to push on and make sure we cement a place in the play-offs but try to get to a position where we threaten the top two."


It is a fair point despite setbacks we are still fourth. Back in August we would all have all settled for that at this stage. It is major progress from last season which ever way you look at it.


So surely we have nothing to fear from Birmingham City on Saturday.

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