Wolves To Feast On Brummie Blues
Wolves v Birmingham
Birmingham are looking to bounce back from last week’s humiliation as new manager Gary Rowett takes charge of his first game.
Leon Clarke’s late winner against Leeds on Saturday made it back-to-back wins for Wolves following a run of four games without victory. Six points in the space of a week have put Kenny Jacket’s men back in the thick of the automatic promotion hunt – currently sitting in third position but joint level on points with both Derby and Watford.
Midfielder Bakary Sakho has been at the forefront of Wolves’ success this season, scoring seven goals this season and one in each of his last four starts. He did, however, miss the weekend game with Leeds due to a groin injury.
Wanderers have scored two or more goals in five of their last six fixtures, while they have only managed to keep one clean sheet in the same period.
Birmingham were humiliated 8-0 by Bournemouth at the weekend, making it three consecutive losses and the same number of games without a goal scored. Former manager Lee Clark was sacked following a 1-0 defeat at Bolton a fortnight ago and now the Blues find themselves down in 23rd position with only Blackpool below them.
They’ve scored only 12 goals in 14 Championship games this season, with Wes Thomas the only player to have netted more than two league goals – he has just three and hasn’t scored since September.
These are dire times for Birmingham City Football Club and new manager Gary Rowett faces a stern challenge to keep the club in the Championship.
Bakary Sakho will be given as long as possible to prove his fitness and is expected to feature having only just missed out on the Leeds game. James Henry is likely to deputise again if the Malian does not make it, while Leon Clarke is pushing for a starting berth after scoring as a second-half substitute seven days ago.
The incoming Blues boss faces a tough decision about whether to offer a clean slate to those who were humiliated against Bournemouth last week, or ring the changes. David Edgar will be unavailable following his red card in Saturday’s defeat.
Wolves won both meetings last season with the game at Molineux finishing 1-0 in favour of the hosts following a Marlon King own goal.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Wade Elliott each scored twice in a 3-2 win for Wolves when the sides met at St Andrews. That game was the only one of the previous six meetings that has featured more than 2.5 goals.
Wolves are made the heavy 40/85 favourites, and it’s entirely understandable to see why. Although the Championship can be a volatile division, there is simply no argument to be made for backing the visitors here. Rowett does not have a magic wand.
Wolves -1 at odds of 13/10 and Wolves -2 at 16/5 are both extremely appealing bets in the Handicap market, while it’s fair to assume that their will be plenty of goals given the recent form of both teams. Over 2.5 is appropriately short at 8/11, but the Over 3.5 goals is worth siding with at odds of 7/4.