Today sees a massive Sky Bet Championship six pointer as Middlesbrough welcome Bristol City to the Riverside Stadium.
Both teams are within a win of making the play offs, making victory here ever so crucial for their hopes of finishing in that top six.
That will be boosted by the fact that their play off rivals, Millwall and Sheffield United meet at Bramall Lane at lunchtime so will know what is needed here ahead of kick off.
Middlesbrough captain, Grant Leadbitter will miss this match after being sent off during Tuesday’s defeat at Sheffield United.
Adam Clayton is expected to replace Leadbitter in midfield.
Britt Assombalonga and Fabio are both pushing for recalls.
Rudy Gestede is ruled out for rest of season with an ankle injury.
Bristol City could also be without their captain, Bailey Wright after he sat out Tuesday’s win over Birmingham City with a thigh strain.
Despite Joe Bryan having to switch from his usual left back role to the right in midweek, he is expected to return to normal position with Eros Pisano starting on the right.
Since a mid February defeat at Cardiff City, Middlesbrough have lost just once in nine games.
Boro have scored in each of last six home games, taking five wins and one defeat.
Bristol City have had a difficult 2018 with just three wins, all coming at home.
Away from Aston Gate, the Robins have earned just four points from last nine on the road.
- Middlesbrough haven’t won last five meetings with Bristol City.
- Bristol City are yet to lose at Riverside Stadium in six previous trips.
- Three of last four meetings saw Bristol City score the only goals in those games.
- Boro’s top scorers across last five games are; Daniel Ayala, Patrick Bamford and Adama Traore with two goals apiece.
- Lee Johnson has one win and defeat from two previous clashes with Middlesbrough.
Where can game be won or lost?
|Per Game Average||Middlesbrough (home)||Bristol City (away)|
|Shots on Target||4.24||3.24|
|Goals per First Half %||55.2||48|
|Goals per Second Half %||44.8||52|
Looking at the stats, Middlesbrough have the edge because they attack more but Bristol City are more clinical when turning their shots on target into goals.
If Boro are to take the three points, they are probably going to need a two goal lead at half time, otherwise they might have an issue because their goal average dips for second half whilst the visitors’ improves.
Discipline wise, both teams are roughly level with one another but Bristol City’s higher foul average could very well play a part, if find themselves chasing the game in last 30 minutes.
Overall, it’s tough to work out who is more likely to win this match and neither having their captain won’t help.
Hopefully this will be a good match but play off rivals, Sheffield United and Millwall meet at lunchtime.
Whatever happens there could very well have a bearing on how fans play their part and impact how players approach the match.
A draw or Millwall win will fire everyone up, knowing that victory here will boost one team’s play off hopes whilst denting the belief of the losing side.
It might be easy to predict a draw but Bristol City have struggled away in 2018, so am predicting a Boro win.
Prediction: Middlesbrough 2-1 Bristol City