Birmingham City - Middlesbrough Betting Preview: King to come to the rescue after Boro strike first

Friday's Championship clash gives Tony Mowbray's men a chance to apply some pressure to their rivals at the top of the table, and Al Hain-Cole expects them to start brightly
Middlesbrough are flying high in the Championship at the moment, and have the chance to go equal on points with leaders Cardiff when they travel to Birmingham on Friday evening.

Tony Mowbray’s men bounced back emphatically from two successive defeats by beating Huddersfield 3-0 on Tuesday, and are available at 9/5 (2.80) with Bet365 to pick up another three points at St. Andrews.

The hosts have endured a difficult season so far, with new boss Lee Clark struggling to live up to the high standards set by his predecessor Chris Hughton, who took the Blues to the brink of promotion via the play-offs.

Clark’s side are currently closer to the relegation zone than the play-off places, and are without a win in four matches.

However, the home team have won 11 of the last 12 clashes between these two sides, and you can get odds of 7/5 (2.40) on that record continuing with a Birmingham victory this time. There have been no draws in those last 12 showdowns, but there are odds of 12/5 (3.40) on offer for punters who can see them cancelling each other out here.

Considering their contrasting plights, Middlesbrough will come into this game in a more confident mood than the home side, and should start the brighter.

This should pose a problem for a Birmingham side that have a habit of starting slowly, as the Midlanders have gone behind in each of their last four matches.

With the dangerous Marvin Emnes, Scott McDonald and Lukas Jutkiewicz up front for Boro, they seem nailed on to break the deadlock in this match, and you can back them to score first at generous 11/10 (2.10) odds.

One bright spot for Clark is the form of Marlon King, who has scored 10 goals in 18 league games so far.

The former Watford man has hit the back of the net in four of the last five matches for the Blues, and the in-form striker will be vital to their hopes of getting anything out of this match.

Three of these four strikes have been the final goals of the game, and it is well worth backing him to save the day by scoring last in this match, at inviting 9/2 (5.50) odds.

Middlesbrough to score first at 11/10 (2.10) with Bet365
Marlon King to score last at 9/2 (5.50) with Bet365

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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