A potential banana skin... Ian Holloway predicts Birmingham City v Middlesbrough

Birmingham City FC - St. Andrews

Birmingham City are due to face Middlesbrough at St. Andrews on Friday evening.

Ian Holloway has told Sky Sports that he believes Middlesbrough will beat Birmingham City 2-1 on Friday evening.

Boro are under pressure to pick up the three points at St. Andrews, as they look to ensure that they finish in the automatic promotion standings.

Aitor Karanka’s men currently sit in second place in the Championship table, but things could not be any tighter at the top.

Middlesbrough, Burnley and Brighton & Hove Albion all have collected 87 points from their 44 matches to date - setting up a thrilling climax to the season.

One slip up could prove costly for any the promotion chasers at this stage, and Boro’s away trip to Birmingham looks like a tough test.

The Blues have fallen away from the play off chasing pack recently, but they remain a well organised and dangerous opponent.

And Holloway feels that Birmingham could give Middlesbrough a scare, although he has backed the North East club to come through.

"It was a bit of a slip-up for Middlesbrough against Ipswich, but they are a tough nut to crack," the former Queens Park Rangers boss said.

"Having watched Birmingham a lot this season and the way they're set up to hit on the break, this could be another banana skin for Aitor Karanka's men. He'll be treating this as just another game, but it isn't - it's a massive fixture, and emotions will be running high in that dressing room.

"Will they get the job done here? I think so, but only just. They've got such a strong bench - he's got a plethora of riches - and that might just be the difference in this game. A win would set us up for a blockbuster day on Monday, where Brighton and Burnley are both in action."

Boro’s match against Birmingham takes place before Brighton face Derby County, and Burnley take on Queens Park Rangers.

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