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Barely anything could separate Birmingham and Hull City on the statistics front never mind the scoreline, as Bowyer’s men failed to make it back-to-back wins in the Championship with a 0-0 draw against the Tigers, but danger is not imminent.
Bowyer refused to play the blame game after taking a point from Saturday’s game, but the Birmingham boss did lament the state of the pitch after the full-time whistle, with this week’s hosts almost home and dry with regards to second-tier survival.
The Blues’ 19th-placed standing in the Championship table is far from satisfactory, but a 16-point chasm separates Bowyer’s side from Barnsley below the dotted line, and only the most devastating of collapses would see Birmingham dragged into a relegation dogfight now.
A second successive home game without a goal in the Championship may come as a concern to Bowyer, and while Birmingham can almost afford to relax heading into the business end of the season, Middlesbrough travel to St Andrew’s with plenty still to play for
Birmingham did not pick up any fresh injury concerns in the recent draw with Hull, with Teden Mengi fit enough to take his place on the bench after recovering from a hamstring issue.
However, Jeremie Bela was absent from the squad to face the Tigers due to illness and is still a slight doubt, while Troy Deeney and George Friend are keeping Maxime Colin company in the treatment room, but the latter is edging closer towards a return.
It would be a surprise to see Bowyer ring the changes after a resolute showing at the weekend, but Scott Hogan could provide an alternative option in the final third ahead of Lyle Taylor.
As far as Middlesbrough are concerned, Wilder will hope to have Anfernee Dijksteel back at his disposal after illness, while Riley McGree and Martin Payero remain out with groin and ankle issues respectively. James Lea Siliki and Andraz Sporar could also apply for places in the squad.
Dijksteel may not make an immediate return to the rearguard, though, with the visiting coach possibly prepared to stick with the Lee Peltier–Dael Fry–Paddy McNair combination after a shutout at The Den.
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Wilder will need to assess the fitness of his crop after making just one change on Saturday, but an unchanged lineup could see Premier League loanees Aaron Connolly and Folarin Balogun form their partnership up top.
Birmingham City possible starting lineup:
Etheridge; Pedersen, Roberts, Gordon; Graham, Woods, Bacuna, Gardner, Hernandez; Hogan, Chong
Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley; Peltier, Fry, McNair; Jones, Tavernier, Howson, Crooks, Taylor; Balogun, Connolly