Tony Mowbray's reign at Birmingham City got off to a steady start at the weekend as his side came from twice behind against Swansea City at St Andrew's in the Championship. Young star Jordan James salvaged a point for the Blues with a fine strike in injury time to get Mowbray's first point on the board.
The Blues looked good going forward at times in the game, but it is clear that there is still work to be done defensively as both goals they conceded were sloppy (a free header from a set-piece and a defender allowing the attacker to sneak in front of him for a low ball into the box).
Birmingham have a quick turnaround as they welcome Hull City to St Andrew's on Tuesday night (19:45) for their FA Cup third-round replay, which Mowbray may utilise to rotate his squad, and Hull might just do the same. The Tigers were beaten 2-1 at home to Norwich City on Friday night as their slump in the second tier continued.
They have now lost four of their last five in the league, so a win in this cup tie would be most welcome to boost morale.
There is value to be had in backing either of these sides to win the replay in 90 minutes. Birmingham are valued at 11/8, while Hull are priced at 9/5. If you feel as though this replay is destined for extra time then you can back the draw at 13/5.
Both teams to score is marketed at 8/15. Over 2.5 goals is on offer at 8/13.
After the Swansea draw, Mowbray said he would use the Hull game to take a closer look at Keshi Anderson. The winger has recently returned from a spell on the sidelines after having an impressive start to the season under former boss John Eustace.
Veteran striker Lukas Jutkiewicz was handed a rare start in the reverse fixture and he is expected to lead the line once again on Tuesday. Alfie Chang, Ethan Laird, Marc Roberts and George Hall remain sidelined through injury.
Hull are expecting to be without striker Aaron Connolly after the player was wiped out in a collision with Norwich goalkeeper Angus Gunn on Friday. Hull boss Liam Rosenior is also without young forward Liam Delap, who could be out for the rest of the season with a knee problem.
Birmingham to win in 90 minutes @ 11/8
Things haven't been going great for Hull of late, and with key attackers Connolly and Delap unavailable, they have lost valuable firepower in attack. This will give Birmingham an excellent opportunity on home soil to get their first win under Mowbray, which would lift the spirits of the squad.
Jutkiewicz scored in the reverse fixture at the MKM Stadium and he gave Hull's out-of-form defence a lot to think about. We're expecting him to wreak havoc again with his physical presence and provided he is given plenty of aerial service, he can get on the scoresheet again.
The Blues created a lot of chances against the Swans on Saturday and it was a lack of conviction that denied them from winning Mowbray's first match. The team is likely to be rotated against Hull but with the Tigers low on confidence, we fancy the Blues' fringe players to pile more misery on them and get the job done in 90 minutes.
Over 2.5 goals @ 8/13
We like the look of this market because when players who haven't been playing regularly are given an opportunity in the cup, they can tend to be rusty. This could tee up a frantic end-to-end contest in which could deliver a number of goals.
This selection is also appealing because Hull haven't been in great form recently and Birmingham's defence has been shaky for the past couple of months. Under their previous boss Wayne Rooney's 14 matches in charge, no one had conceded more goals than them (30). It will take time for Mowbray to fix their back line so they still remain vulnerable.
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