Middlesbrough Vs Birmingham City – Preview

Posted on August 31, 2007 
Filed Under Previews By Aff

Welcome to another lazily put together match preview. Thankfully this year, I’ve started sticking to a basic template so they should be much easier for me to write!

Opposition: Middlesbrough
Competition: Premier League
Venue: The Riverside Stadium

Stats: This will be the 100th meeting between the two sides. Blues stand at 40 wins to Boro’s 28 with 31 ending in draws. Blues also hold the edge in league meetings with 34 wins to Boro’s 28.

Recent history hasn’t been kind to Blues in this fixture. We haven’t beaten Middlesbrough away in nearly 30 years – 11 meetings – our last victory coming in 1981.

Last time out: Last time we visited Middlesbrough in the Premiership (March, 2006) we were beaten 1-0 thanks to a Mark Viduka strike just before the break. We were also beaten 3-0 at home by the Teessiders in the reverse fixture.

Memories: Middlesbrough are one of those clubs that don’t bother me one way or the other. I don’t particularly want them to do well but I can’t be bothered expending energy on disliking them. They’re the embodiment of bland and most football fans I speak to seem to agree.

The two outstanding memories of facing ‘Boro are the League Cup encounter in the late 90’s where two superb Kevin Francis headers put them to the sword at St Andrew’s after a 0-0 draw up at the Riverside and the Premiership encounter from a few years ago where they beat us 5-3. Matthew Upson spectacularly, inexplicably and comically trying to head the ball back to his goalkeeper from two inches off the ground…

A slightly curious thing worth mentioning is the amusing contempt with which Blues fans seem to treat ‘Boro when we’re linked with a player. It can be seen across practically every Blues forum when a player’s name is connected with us:

“Are we ‘Boro’s scouts? They’ll be in for him, next!”

And then they are 12 hours later!

A quick mention should also be chucked in the direction of ‘Boro’s manager. I actually quite like Southgate even though he was a bit of a legend at Villa Park. When he missed that penalty against Germany in 1996, it made my life immeasurably easier. I went to a school overpopulated with Villa fans and for the last two years of my school career, if I received any stick, I would simply make mention of the general lack of bottle with which Southgate tried to ‘welly’ the ball…

Team news: I’ve seen little on team news for this one. I would assume that almost everyone is fit with no new injury worries. I would also hazard a guess that the midweek League Cup tie against Hereford United did nothing to change Bruce’s mind about who should be in his line-up.

My guess would be unchanged from the side that did well against Derby County last weekend with Kelly still deputising at left-back for the injured Queudrue and not yet match fit Mat Sadler. Former ‘Boro full-back Stuart Parnaby should be up for this one against his former employers. Expect him to start in the right-back position. Midfield and forward line to remain unchanged with Djourou once again playing in the middle.

Opposition team news: One player who won’t be playing for ‘Boro tomorrow is one-time Blues target, Yakubu. He signed for Everton for around £12m earlier in the week. Still, they will have one time Blues targets Mido and Tuncay looking to prove a point and the rest of the ‘Boro squad doesn’t actually look too bad with the likes of Downing, Boateng, Rochemback, Schwarzer and Arca all seasoned Premiership performers.

You can find a preview for the match from a ‘Boro perspective through the excellent Come On Boro website.

More reading: No-one likes reading, do they? So to save you having to dig through loads of other stories pertaining to this particular game, I’ve done it all for you.

What’s going to happen: We don’t have a good record at ‘Boro and I don’t think that record will improve tomorrow. I always have an impending sense of nothingness about games such as this one. Certain grounds I just never see us winning at and The Riverside is one of those.

Middlesbrough 2-0 Blues – Mido and Rochemback to do the damage.  Att: 24,978.

I hope I’m wrong. Come on you Blues.

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Explanation!

You have arrived at the archive site of the Birmingham City blog Joys & Sorrows. If you were looking for fresh, meaty stuff then this way, please.

This section of the site covers the blog portion of J&S from 26th April 2006 - when the site returned after a catastrophic hosting failure causing the loss of over 500 articles - to 28th April 2008 - when I decided to have a prolonged rest from the site.

Here, if it so takes your fancy, you can find every single article, totalling over 1,000, written by myself and many others over that two year period.

Unfortunately, the formatting on some of the posts is a little rough but since this is an archive, it doesn't matter too much. Nothing is unreadable although a great deal of the links will now, sadly, be broken. So internal Joys & Sorrows links will lead you to 404 errors.

I decided to archive them in this way because I wanted to start something fresh for the main part of the site. Hopefully you'll be able to see that up on the main portion of the site now.

Commenting for the archive section has obviously been switched off. You can flick around the archives by using the 'Find It' function in the middle column or the respective 'Categories' or 'Archives' headings in the sidebars

- Aff, 03/08/08.