Football – England – Championship
Friday 9th November 2012 – Kickoff: 1945hrs
Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday face-off in tonight’s televised Championship match with the hosts looking to steal a march on new leaders Crystal Palace and claim top spot, as Palace face a potential banana-skin at Peterborough United on Saturday afternoon.
Boro did a job at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night earning a point in a 0-0 draw but this will suit Tony Mowbray’s men down to the ground I imagine as the City Ground is a tricky venue, and now they can turn their attentions to the visit of a Sheffield Wednesday side who have won just once on their travels in their last seventeen Championship matches!
As mentioned in previous previews, the minimum requirement for Mowbray this season is to get Boro promoted and looking at their home form so far they stand a good chance of figuring in the top three come the end of the season.
A home record of 5-1-1 14/8 is fantastic when you consider how competitive this league is, and their wins so far have been over Burnley, Crystal Palace, Ipswich Town, Hull City and Bolton Wanderers who shouldn’t be written off just yet by the way. Boro’s only defeat at The Riverside so far was against 5th placed Leicester City.
Contrary to previous seasons, the goals have been fairly flowing for the north-east club with an average of 2 goals per game at The Riverside. I won’t dwell too much on the players again but suffice to say Scott McDonald is in scoring form and has Marvin Emnes, Jutkiewicz and Leadbitter in support. Boro are also unbeaten now in their last seven league matches.
Sheffield Wednesday tasted defeat yet again on Tuesday night as they went down 0-2 at home to Blackpool in a match where they might well have fancied getting something out of given Blackpool’s recent managerial turmoil.
Instead, The Owls succumbed to their eighth defeat this season with only Peterborough United, Bristol City and Ipswich Town losing more matches than them so far. There has been a brief glimmer of hope recently with back-to-back wins over Ipswich Town and Peterborough United, but let’s face it, these two clubs currently occupy two of the bottom three places and with good reason.
A trip to in-form Middlesbrough second in the Championship throws up an entirely different challenge and quite frankly I’d be surprised if Wednesday walked away with even a point tonight. Their away form stands at 1-2-4 9/12 and with their win over Ipswich and draws at Derby County and Burnley, David Jones’ side have taken just 5 points from a possible 21.
The Owls have kept just one clean sheet but have failed to score themselves on three occasions; Ross Barkley (4 goals) is their leading scorer and there is support from O’Grady, Llera and Antonio (3 goals apiece) while the latter has also contributed with 5 assists. The problem with Sheffield Wednesday though is that the habit of losing away from home has become a habit, and this is difficult to break particularly when you’re up against a side like Boro gunning for promotion.
Middlesbrough must win these sorts of matches if they are to be taken seriously in terms of promotion candidates and Tony Mowbray will be demanding three points here; I’ll back them to do just that with perhaps a 2-1 scoreline.
Pick: Middlesbrough straight win @ 1.93 Pinnacle looks the play here…