Birmingham have not won since beating Wigan back on January 10th, drawing 4 and losing 1 of their 5 league games. The defeat came in their last game at home to Millwall as the Blues struggled to overcome a typically spirited Lions performance. They lie 13th in the table and the priority still remains survival despite manager Gary Rowett lifting the club further away from the danger zone since his arrival.
Rowett has brought in Rob Kiernan on loan from Wigan Athletic and the defender poised to make his debut on Wednesday night.
The Blues manager will still be without defenders Michael Morrison and Gavin Gunning as well as striker Matt Green, the latter 2 recovering from serious ligament injuries.
‘Boro meanwhile come into this game on the back of manager Aitor Karanka labelling his team over-confident following their defeat against Arsenal in the FA Cup. Such comments should focus the minds of the Middlesbrough players as they look to regain top spot in the Championship.
Karanka’s team have the second best away record in the division so far this season and have won their last 5 league games on the trot.
Boro will look to Grant Leadbitter to take control of the midfield and the skipper will certainly be the one to take a penalty if one comes their way. The midfielder has notched 12 goals so far this season with 8 of those coming from the spot.
Striker Patrick Bamford has had some attention following his goal scoring exploits against Man City in the FA Cup but he will want to continue his hitting the back of the net where it matters most for Middlesbrough, in the league.
This will be a test of nerves for both teams as the league gets more intriguing by the week.
While Birmingham would have wanted an easier game on paper, such a challenge could be just what the players need to help raise their game and lift them out their current slumber.
It is down to Boro to hold their nerve, which will get tougher with each game, to see them secure automatic promotion back to the Premier League.
Both managers are well respected as well as talented and it could be an interesting encounter at St. Andrews.