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.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam