This fixture see’s two sides aiming to resurrect their poor recent form and make some waves in the intense race for a Championship play-off place.
No time for slip ups
Both of these sides head in to this game with just one win in their last four. It’s the most crucial part of the season, and The Championship play-off race is tighter than ever. Neither side can afford to keep dropping points, and both will look at this as a very winnable game.
Middlesbrough currently occupy the last play off spot, but just eight points separates them and their opponents in 14th. Blackburn will believe the season is far from over for them, and in such an unpredictable league; a good run of form could see them in contention for promotion. For Boro’ they’re in the driving seat, they know that it is down to them to keep themselves in the play-offs. Failure to do so will be an immense failure for the Teesider’s; who are desperate to re-establish themselves as a Premier League club.
Every game now for the teams still in with a shout of the play-offs is a cup final. It’s not just about taking three points, but beating the other teams still vying for a place in the top six. This game is a perfect example, if Blackburn lose they go 11 points behind their opponents, and that may be the end of their feint hopes. However a win drags them to within five points, and all of a sudden that looks very achievable. It’s the finest of margins, and that’s what makes The Championship so incredibly competitive. The hosts are the slight outsiders for the game, priced at 2.8 with their opponents at 2.6.
Both will fancy themselves
Seven of Blackburn’s 11 wins this campaign have come at Ewood Park, and they’ll be eager to make this number eight. They have only suffered three defeats in front of their fans all season, a number only bettered by Aston Villa and Derby County. Their last home match was a highly anticipated clash with Bristol City, both had been involved in a high number of goals going in to the game and many had it earmarked as a real classic. What unfolded was a close contest, where neither side could take their chances. That was until Eros Pisano found the net just 10 minutes from time to win the game for the visitors.
Middlesbrough travel well in the league, only three sides have won more away games than them this season and with Blackburn looking vulnerable they will be keen to capitalise. Boro’ have only taken three losses away from home this campaign, taking an impressive 27 points, which is only beaten by Leeds and Norwich who have taken 28. They have also scored in 75% of their away games, and with Blackburn’s defensive frailties it’s hard to see them failing to register here. Only Rotherham and bottom side Ipswich have conceded more than Blackburn have in The Championship. You can back Middlesbrough to score over 0.5 goals at a price of 1.3.
Do either have the x factor?
The Championships best sides this season all have at least one key man, the player that makes them tick, you look at the likes of Harry Wilson, Jarrod Bowen and Keemar Roofe. Not necessarily the highest goal scorers, but the driving force in their squad. For Blackburn it’s Bradley Dack, the elusive playmaker tore apart League One last season and has stepped up to The Championship with ease. Dack has 11 goals and five assists this season, most of those finished by Danny Graham who has helped himself to 10 goals. If Blackburn can get Dack on the ball he can make things happen, and Middlesbrough will need to keep tabs on him at all times. Dack is priced at 3.0 to score at any time during the match.
Middlesbrough to score over 0.5 goals @ 1.3
Both teams to score @ 1.85
Both teams to score and draw @ 4.2