Middlesbrough V Birmingham at The Riverside Stadium : Match Preview

15 March 2013 01:01
Middlesbrough V Birmingham - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Boro boosted for Blues battle

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray is hoping for a timely fitness boost ahead of Saturday's npower Championship clash with Birmingham.

Mowbray was without midfielder Grant Leadbitter and forward Sammy Ameobi through injury and Faris Haroun and Josh McEachran because of illness for last weekend's 2-0 defeat at bottom-of-the-table Bristol City.

However, Leadbitter and Ameobi are both being assessed, while Haroun and McEachran are expected to return to the squad.

Full-back George Friend limped out of the game at Ashton Gate with a hamstring injury, but it also being assessed for Saturday.

Full-back Justin Hoyte (hip) and striker Lukas Jutkiewicz (ankle) are back in training, but the game could come too soon for the latter, while defenders Andre Bikey and Stuart Parnaby (both hamstring) are still out and midfielder Julio Arca (toe) is unlikely to play again this season.

Wes Thomas and Nathan Redmond are pushing for starting berths for Birmingham.

The pair stepped off the bench with Blues 1-0 down at half-time at home to Derby last weekend and completely changed the course of the game.

On-loan Thomas netted a brace, his first goals since joining from Bournemouth in January, either side of a first goal of the season for winger Redmond as Lee Clark's side triumphed 3-1.

Skipper Steven Caldwell shrugged off his recent illness to return to the bench and the Scot will now be pushing for a starting place himself at the Riverside.

Left-back Mitch Hancox remains sidelined with a hamstring complaint, alongside long-term absentees Marlon King, Stephen Carr, David Murphy and Will Packwood.

Source: PA