Championship preview: Tigers ready to pounce

 

Paralysis has been a recurring theme for Birmingham in front of their own fans this season and the mood around St Andrew's could turn extremely sour on Saturday if, as we suspect, another sub-standard performance puts them at the mercy of a free-spirited Hull side managed by former boss Steve Bruce.

It would be wrong to say Blues have perpetually poor under Lee Clark. There have been a few chinks of light, mainly on the road, but it seems as though Birmingham don't know how to express themselves when the onus is on them to do so and this is exactly the kind of fixture where they appear to be vulnerable.

The Tigers are 15/8 for victory in the second city and while you probably wouldn't argue with the prices when faced with nothing other than a teamsheet, the visitors are far more reliable when it comes to fulfiling expectations and home advantage seems to be no advantage for Blues on recent evidence.

We wouldn't be so confident about the Humberside outfit on an Asian handicap or draw-no-bet market where the margins are fine and rewards are minimal, but their greater fixed odds appeal is demonstrated by only one draw in 17 league matches. The Tigers go for the throat and invariably get their rewards for doing so.

The contrasting attitudes might owe much to the foundations on which both clubs are standing right now. Whereas Hull have a local business presence at the helm with the Allem family putting the club on a sound financial footing, uncertainty persists for Brum.

A consortium led by Gianni Paladini is now being linked with a takeover at St Andrew's - which must send shivers down the spine of any Blues fan who watched the surreal BBC documentary 'QPR: the four-year plan' - but then it promises to be no more bizarre than the Carson Yeung era.

All of which comes to represent the underlying sense of purpose in the opposing dressing rooms. Hull are fourth because they have a real sense of purpose about them and genuinely believe they can get back to the Premier League, Birmingham are 19th because they don't.

Meanwhile, Watford did the business for BOTB followers last weekend and the Hornets remain a team to keep onside in the coming weeks, so we'll stick with them at 13/10 for the visit of fading Wolves.

The Old Gold were riding high in third position after ten matches and looking good to mount a serious promotion challenge under Stale Solbakken but that early promise has diminished on the back of a six-match winless sequence where creatvity from open play has been at a premium.

Wanderers did demonstrate battling qualities when snatching a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Brighton last weekend but it was a result that said as much about the Seagulls' mental frailties than anything else and we doubt the improving Hornets will be so generous if presented with a lead here.

Gianfranco Zola's men have now picked up 16 points from their last nine league outings after that remarkable 6-1 victory over nine-man Leeds and it's a sample that only gets more impressive when you weigh up the defeats they've suffered and the circumstances in which they came about.

Betting advice...

2pts Hull to beat Birmingham at 15/8 (Bet Victor)
Blues are struggling at St Andrew's and bold approach of the visitors can reap full reward.

2pts Watford to beat Wolves at 13/10 (Blue Square)
Hornets are playing with real purpose, while Old Gold seem devoid of ideas in open play.

For more betting advice, visit Best of the Bets by clicking here.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most