Birmingham City v Middlesbrough '“ Tony Pulis happy to play waiting game

BACK in August few would have expected Middlesbrough's points haul on their travels to be just one point shy of their home total by early January.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis: Waiting game.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis: Waiting game.

This is the reality for the Teesside club and while home form proved the bedrock of their run to the Championship play-off final in 2014-15 and promotion in the following campaign it is a different story this time around.

Boro’s away tally of 21 points is the joint third-best in the division and only Norwich have lost fewer second-tier games away from home this term.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Tony Pulis’s side have lost just once on the road in the league since mid-September, but they face a big examination this afternoon against a Birmingham side who have seen their colours lowered in the Championship just once this term at St Andrew’s.

The presence in the Blues’ dug-out of Garry Monk, controversially sacked by Boro at Christmas, 2017, will add a touch of spice to the occasion with the former Riverside chief and his replacement Pulis barely able to muster a handshake following the fixture in the second city last March.

Pulis said: “Our away form, apart from the odd one or two games, has been very good and we’ve got to make sure we continue that and we want to put in a display like we did at Derby where we were unfortunate not to win.”

Pulis is hoping patience proves a virtue in terms of incoming January signings after revealing the club have missed out on a couple of targets.

He added: “Generally most of the deals are done at the back end of the window. The difficult thing is that everybody wants to play their cards late on. It is always very difficult to get deals done in the first half of the window.

“We have got targets. A couple have gone and you accept that, it is no one’s fault. But there are still a few who we are pursuing and hoping to get over the line.”