Today sees in-form Derby County travel to The Riverside Stadium where they’ll take on Middlesbrough.
Boro will be without midfielder Jonny Howson for this game, Howson picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against Birmingham on Wednesday which means he’ll automatically miss this one out with a one match ban.
Other than that Boro have no fresh injury concerns as Rudy Gestede battles his way back to fitness.
Derby midfielder Bradley Johnson is set to miss this game as he continues to work back to fitness from hamstring injury, the game may come to soon for on-loan striker Sam Winnall as he works his way back from an ankle injury which saw him miss Derby’s midweek win against QPR.
With just one defeat in their last ten games, Derby will go into this game high in confidence and will be hoping to get at least a point today against a Middlesbrough side who have struggled against the top half sides all season.
With just one win all season against top half sides, Boro will know they’ll have to sort out that form today if they’re going to make a serious promotion challenge, anything other than three points today could also see Boro slip out of the play-off places.
Despite the poor run against the top sides, if Boro do win today then it’ll be five wins out of the last six games, albeit the one defeat came against Leeds United, however three points today would be a massive boost for Garry Monk’s side and could be the boost they need to push for the top two.
Last Time Out
Middlesbrough left it late in this battle of the battle of the top two but ultimately ran out two-nil winners thanks to goals from Albert Adomah and George Friend.
The win against Derby saw Boro extend their position at the top and set a club record of nine home league games without conceding.
Britt’s on fire
After the 2-0 win against Birmingham City on Wednesday thanks to two goals from Britt Assombalonga, it saw the clubs record signing hit 11 goals for the season in just 18 games.
What makes Assombalonga’s goal record even more impressive is that he’s only had 22 shots on target this season and 11 of them have resulted in goals, meaning he has a 50% conversion rate when getting his shot on target.
Britt is closing in on a club record as well already so early on in the season.
With 11 goals to his name, Assombalonga is just six goals away from equalling Patrick Bamford’s tally of 17 league goals in the 14/15 season.
If Assombalonga can get just seven goals from now till the end of the season, it’ll mean he’ll end the season as the highest scoring player in a Boro shirt since the move to The Riverside Stadium.
I expect this game to be a tough for the home side.
Derby go into this game in good form and Boro have struggled when facing good opposition.
My heart says Boro to win this 1-0 but my head is going with a 1-1 draw.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 1-1 Derby
Thanks for reading,
By Jake Self