Mowbray must decide whether to risk Boro’s comeback trio against Blues

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Manager Tony Mowbray must decide whether to gamble with his team selection against Birmingham tonight when Middlesbrough seek to climb into the top two of the Championship.

Jonathan Woodgate, George Friend and Faris Haroun are close to returning from injury and could be included for the trip to St Andrew’s. However, Mowbray knows the safer bet is to wait until Peterborough tomorrow week.

“If we risk them against Birmingham it might be a gamble too much. But we’ll wait and see,” the manager said.

Andy Halliday is hoping for the chance to continue his heroics as an emergency full-back.

Signed as a striker by former boss Gordon Strachan, the 21-year-old has had to wait for his chance under Mowbray, but it arrived at left-back in Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town thanks to Friend’s injury.

“George’s boots are huge ones to fill,” Halliday said. “He’s arguably been our best player this season. He was a huge miss. I have filled in and done okay.

“We can all agree that the strength in depth is strong this season. Neither [Stuart] Parnaby or [Justin] Hoyte have put a foot wrong either.

“Hopefully I am in the mix for Friday. I would like to be. I am happy to have played on Tuesday and I want to keep that going.”

Birmingham will assess Hayden Mullins and Rob Hall before naming their side.

Midfielder Mullins was forced off late on in Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Blackpool nursing a groin injury, although it is not as bad as first feared.

On-loan winger Hall missed out altogether having been struck down with a sickness bug and remains doubtful.

The Blues’ former Huddersfield manager Lee Clark must also decide whether or not to reinstate captain Steven Caldwell having dropped the centre-back to the bench in midweek.

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