Can Boro Give Birmingham the Blues?
By Robert Nichols
Friday 04 Oct 2019 14:21:00
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After Boro's recovery against Preston in midweek can we go one better at St Andrews? Tonight is the televised head to head with Birmingham City. We will be there. Kick off 7.45pm.

Boro face a tricky task against Birmingham City, who although having a fairly inconsistent start always present a formidable hurdle at home.

This will be a last game before the international break, so it would be ideal to go out on a high note. Jonathan Woodgate could rally the troops and work on the training ground to ensure those defences are more secure and water tight before launching forward on the next part of the season.

How does the Head Coach assess tonight's challenge?

“Birmingham are inconsistent but still a threat. They have big Jutkiewicz up front who I have played with before. They have got some players like Danny Crowley in the midfield. They are a direct team. It will be a tough game. We need to stand up and be counted.”

For once there are a few options and permutations for the Head Coach. Although the thin squad picks itself in certain positions the positive contributions of Howson, Tav and Browne against Preston will give the Boro boss pause for thought before making his selections. We can probably expect Howson to retain his place, providing energy and experience in the midfield. Browne showed enough trickery and also guile and stayed the pace throughout v Preston, I expect the former West Ham man to be another starter.

Looking back on the Preston game Jonathan Woodgate said: “Obviously we would have liked to have won the game but I thought the performance was a lot better than the Sheff Wed game.”

He then reflected on that reaction.

“The response I got from my players was very good, don't forget that Preston were top scorers in the league with 18 goals and sitting near the top of the table they are a good team they are unbeaten since august. So it was a good test for us. Obviously I wanted to get the win, we want to win football games, it is the most important thing for us. At the minute we aren't doing that we look to try and improve and get that result against Birmingham on Friday night.”

Birmingham only seems to bring forward lots of bad memories yet the record books actually say otherwise. We get an awful lot of draws at St Andrews. Many a time we have been pegged back when we thought we would bring away 3 points. Yet I wonder if a draw would not be the worst result in the world tonight. Mind you we do need to be making steps forward in the league as we are far too close for comfort to the relegation places but we need to show we are hard to beat and resilient as well and have learned from that Sheff Wed mauling.

How is the Boro boss feeling about this week?

“It is typical Championship, the games come thick and fast, this time it is 3 games in 6 days which isn't ideal but my players are up for it, “ Woodgate admitted. “And I liked the way we had the game on Tuesday night so we didn't have a week to stew over the performance. We could get back out there and react and show the fans what we are all about. We played a lot better than we did but we are still not perfect we need wins on the board.”

Woodgate hopes we can remain calm about the table.

“I was chatting to Alex Neil after the game and he said last year they had 5 points after 10 games. It was a difficult situation for him but it is important to ride it out. Stock together as a club. Fans stay together and remain patient, I know it is difficult for them but that is what you need. It is not how you start it is how you finish.”

He admitted though to being disappointed with our standing.

“I am disappointed I wanted more points than we have at the moment. I want to win every game. We need to get more points on the board as soon as possible.”

He then went on to try and put things into perspective.

“The table hasn't settled down there is a long, long way to go. You string a few results together and you shoot up the table and the confidence will come. Like I say it is not how you start it is how you finish.”

Let's hope we finish on top of Birmingham tonight.

Come on Boro – lets complete the response to last Saturday's defeat by bouncing back with 3 points .

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