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Bruce’s Tigers to claw past Birmingham in Championship race

Holly Thackeray | March 2, 2016

Birmingham City v Hull City

  • Championship
  • Thursday, March 3rd
  • Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
  • St Andrew’s, Birmingham
  • Live on Sky Sports 1

Hull face Blues hurdle

Things are getting testy at the top of the Championship and travelling Hull City can not afford to slip up with their game in hand against hosts Birmingham City on Thursday evening’s televised tussle.

The ambitious Tigers have a chance to roar at other title contenders, as they currently sit in second, just one point behind Burnley, though the Lancashire club have made one more outing.

Hull’s team manager Steve Bruce gestures during the English FA Cup soccer match between Arsenal and Hull City at the Emirates stadium in London, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Steve Bruce’s boys are tasty at 11/10 to take all three points and make their St Andrew’s encounter count, though the Championship Blues will not make it easy.

Humberside outfit Hull have, however, already seen off the Midlands men once this season, claiming KC Stadium spoils after hammering in two goals with no reply, so customers can grab odds of 15/2 for a repeat result.

Can Powell solve poaching problems?

This meeting has the makings of a tight clash, with Hull having a respectable goal difference of 29 but failing to find the net as frequently of late.

The Tigers have been on target just once in their last three games in league and FA Cup, though that does include heroically holding Arsenal to a draw and replay.

Still, Bruce has plenty of intriguing attacking options though, with usual suspects Abel Hernandez (4/1 to fire in first), Mohamed Diame (7/1 to strike last) and on-loan Arsenal starlet Chuba Akpom (9/4 anytime) always net threats.

Yet, the most intriguing player who could feature is mercurial Manchester United-owned midfielder Nick Powell.

Hull City's Nick Powell (right) is brought down by a combination of Arsenal's Joel Campbell (centre) and Mohamed Elneny (left) during the Emirates FA Cup, fifth round match at The Emirates Stadium, London.

The young-gun has shown flashes of promise since join the Tigers team and, as the Englishman has a taste for the spectacular, fans are eager to see Powell break his duck. He is 3/1 to do so anytime.

Blues battling for promotion push

Meanwhile, in-demand gaffer Gary Rowett has seen his previously sparkling side stumble of late, with just one win in their last five, though Birmingham are priced at 14/5 for a restorative victory.

With injury troubles up top, however, as James Vaughan’s sidelining leaves Clayton Donaldson as the only senior striker, a draw at 9/4 may be more manageable as the Blues chase a play-off place.

Birmingham City's manager Gary Rowett

Rowett told press of his striker shortage “We could end up going into tomorrow night’s game with no striker on the bench. Obviously we don’t want that either.

“It’ll either be that we will promote someone from within if you like, or we use someone differently in that position if we need to.”

With that in mind dangerman Donaldson will have much weight on his shoulders and is 12/5 in the anytime market. While another Arsenal prodigy in midfielder Jon Toral, is 15/2 to fire in last and rediscover his form at just the right time.

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Coral’s top tip: Akpom at 9/4 to net anytime for Hull is rather nifty!

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