npower Championship
Saturday March 16 2013
Middlesbrough v Birmingham City
Kick-off 3pm

THIS is the 96th league meeting between the two clubs, Birmingham having won 37 of the previous 95 and Boro 30, leaving 28 draws.

This is the oldest home fixture in Boro's league history. Birmingham, then known as Small Heath, were the first side to visit Linthorpe Road when Boro joined the league in 1899.

In all but one of the previous 13 games between the clubs, the home side has recorded victory, the only exception being Boro's 3-0 win at Birmingham on August 23 2005. That is also the only time in the last 27 meetings that the away side has picked up a win.

And on each of the last four occasions, the home side has scored three goals.

When the two teams last met, Boro were in third and Birmingham in 19th. Mowbray's men now sit ninth, while City are in 14th.


Injuries and suspensions

George Friend was withdrawn at half-time during the defeat at Bristol City last Saturday with a tight hamstring. He will be assessed ahead of the game.

Illness struck down Faris Haroun and Josh McEachran ahead of the game at Ashton Gate. Both missed out but are expected to return for this one.

Grant Leadbitter and Sammy Ameobi missed the trip last Saturday with hamstring problems. Checks will be made on the pair ahead of the game.

Lukas Jutkiewicz and Justin Hoyte have both returned to training following ankle and hip problems respectively.

Andre Bikey picked up a hamstring injury during the 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Chelsea but is on the mend and could return.

Stuart Parnaby sustained a hamstring tear at Crystal Palace on February 16 and could be missing until the end of the month.

Julio Arca is likely to miss the remainder of the season with a toe injury.

Former Boro loanee Marlon King is out for the season following knee surgery.


In Opposition

League Cup winners in 2011, Birmingham are into their second successive season in the Championship afte relegation from the Premier League in the same season.

Shortly afterwards manager Alex McLeish resigned in order to join Aston Villa in June 2011. Chris Hughton was the man tasked with getting the Blues back to the Premier League and finished fourth in his first season, but Birmingham were beaten in the play-off semi-final by Blackpool.

In June last year Hughton left Birmingham - who were then under a transfer embargo - to take charge of Norwich City. Lee Clark, below, who was out of work following his successful time with Huddersfield, was the chosen replacement at St Andrews.

Lee Clark - Photo-Getty Images

Birmingham are 14th in the Championship, with 46 points from 37 games, eight points and five places beneath Boro.

Birmingham have a squad of 39 players from 11 countries, including six players on loan.

Former Boro loanee King remains his sdie's top scorer with 13 goals. The striker has scored four goals in three games against Boro since leaving, all of which Boro have lost, and three times in his last four games against them has scored a penalty to give his side a win.

Both his goals for Boro came at the Riverside after the 90th minute. He has not played at the ground since leaving.

Former Boro defender David Murphy has been injured since November and will not play again this season.


Head-to-Head

Last six meetings at the Riverside

2011/12 - Championship

21-08-2011: Boro 3-1 Birmingham City

2007/08 - Premier League

01-09-2007: Boro 2-0 Birmingham City

2005/06 - Premier League

04-03-2006: Boro 1-0 Birmingham City

2004/05 - Premier League

11-09-2004: Boro 2-1 Birmingham City

2003/04 - Premier League

20-03-2004: Boro 5-3 Birmingham City

2002/03 - Premier League

21-09-2002: Boro 1-0 Birmingham City


Diary Dates

Five years ago - Boro are denied a win at Villa Park from a Stewart Downing goal through a penalty given when the ball hits Luke Young on his back. Three days later another error costs them a first win at the Emirates as they lead Arsenal though Jeremie Aliadiere's goal until the 87th minute, when the officials miss a foul on George Boateng, and Mido is sent off for an accidental high kick, in Boro's own Nani moment.

10 years ago - A win at Elland Road for only the second time in 27 years with goals from Maccarone, Juninho and Geremi, and as usual, both Leeds' goals from Mark Viduka.

15 years ago - Boro lose top place after a goalless draw at Portsmouth.

20 years ago - They stay in 21st place after a 2-1 home defeat by Liverpool, as Bernie Slaven sits the game out as an unused sub, his last game in a Boro shirt.

25 years ago - Goals from Dean Glover and Paul Kerr beat Huddersfield 2-0 at Ayresome Park, then a single Glover goal takes the points at Shrewsbury to keep Boro third in Division Two.

30 years ago - Gary Hamilton starts a game for the first time in a 2-0 defeat at Barnsley which sees Boro drop to 20th.

35 years ago - The FA Cup jinx continues as Orient score two wonder goals in the opening minutes of the sixth round replay and Boro go out 2-1. Four days later they crash 5-0 at Leeds as David Mills starts a red card tradition that continues to this day.

50 years ago - Same team, same result, but 11 players at the end as Leeds win 2-0 at Ayresome Park.

55 years ago - Brian Clough makes it 30 goals for the season as he and Alan Peacock get two each in a 4-3 win over Bristol Rovers.

65 years ago - A triple debut for John Hodgson, Charlie Reagan and Stan Rickaby in a 1-1 home draw with Derby.

75 years ago - Boro slip to fourth after a 2-2 draw at Everton.

85 years ago - The slide begins with a 4-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, dropping Boro an amazing seven places in the tightest of divisions.

105 years ago - Sammy Cail scores twice in a 3-1 win over Notts County to make it nine goals in nine games since his return from injury.


Vital Statistics

Boro have taken just seven points from the last available 36. Home wins over Leeds United and Cardiff City are the only victories in that run, in which there has been one draw - 0-0 at Burnley - and now nine defeats.

Mowbray's men are going to have to make history if they're to secure promotion, having now lost 17 games this season. No side has ever gone up having lost 16 or more games. Only two have managed it with 15 defeats - one of those two being Boro.

Only five of Boro's 17 defeats have been against the teams above them and all but one of those have been by one goal.

At the Riverside, Boro have kept just one clean sheet in the last 10. But despite recent setbacks, Boro still have the second-best home record in the Championship - only Cardiff have won more games.

Boro have lost 17 points from winning positions so far this season - one draw and five defeats.

Birmingham have only won twice after going behind - one of them against Boro at St Andrews - but they have come back to draw eight times.

Lee Clark's side have lost just one of their last 11 Championship games.

Seven of the Blues' 17 goals this year have come in injury-time, three in the first half and four in the second.

Birmingham have won just two of their last six, Saturday's 3-1 victory over Derby coming on the back of six points from a possible 15. The Blues are looking for back-to-back wins for only the second time this season.

During those last six Birmingham have kept two clean sheets, conceding 12 in their other four outings. Away from home, they have kept one clean sheet in the last 11.

The Blues have scored in each of their last eight away games, notching a total of 12 goals. During those last eight, Brum have picked up three wins, with three draws and two defeats. Clark's side have scored in all but one away fixture since the start of September.

Boro have won the last seven home games against Birmingham and have not been beaten on Teesside by the Blues in 33 years.


Last time out

November 30 2012
Championship

Birmingham City 3 (King 45+2 (pen), 81; Elliott 66), Middlesbrough 2 (Leadbitter 14, McDonald 62)

Grant Leadbitter's first goal in Boro colours counted for little on the night as Boro, despite being twice in the lead, were beaten again at St Andrews.

Birmingham City: Butland; Ibanez, Davies (Capt), Spector, Caddis, Robinson, Mullins, Morrison (Elliott 46), Zigic (Lovenkrands 75), King, Hall (Burke 69). Subs: Doyle (gk); Caldwell, Redmond, Diop.

Middlesbrough: Steele; Hoyte, Hines, Bikey, Halliday, Ledesma (Smallwood 67), Leadbitter (Capt), McEachran (Zemmama 82), Bailey, Jutkiewicz (Miller 67), McDonald. Subs: Leutwiler (gk); Parnaby, Thomson, Emnes. Order of subs: 1) Miller 2) Smallwood.

Referee: Roger East, Wiltshire.

Bookings

Birmingham City: Robinson
, 45, foul.
Middlesbrough: Halliday, 70, foul.

Attendance: 15,332 (522 Boro)

Conditions: Dry, cold, still and a little misty.

Website Boro Man of the Match: Grant Leadbitter

Possession: Birmingham City 44% Middlesbrough 56%

Shots

Cards

Goals

On target

Off target

Blocked

Corners

Yellow

Red

City

3

5

3

3

3

1

0

Boro

2

5

7

2

3

1

0



Referee: David Coote, Nottingham.

David Coote - Photo-Getty Images

The game will be Mr Coote's 28th of the season, his previous 27 having seen a total of 83 yellow and four red cards.

This is his third season on the league list and his 18th game at this level.

Mr Coote was in charge of Boro's 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace on August 25, having previously taken charge of the 2-2 home draw with Blackpool in November 2011.

He has never previously been in charge of a Birmingham City fixture.


Weather

A mild afternoon is forecast where the temperature is expected to peak at seven degrees around kick-off. It is expected to be a dry day with nothing more than a gentle breeze.


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