After a fortnight off for this month’s international break, the Sky Bet Championship returns with Friday Night Football at Hillsborough as Sheffield Wednesday host Middlesbrough.
The Owls currently occupy sixth whilst Boro dropped out of the top two last time out after blowing a chance to go top, so expect a quality match between two teams predicted to be in the promotion mix.
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Sheffield Wednesday could have striker, Sam Winnall back after a lengthy anterior cruciate ligament injury kept him out for eight months.
Barry Bannan, Morgan Fox and Sam Hutchinson are also in contention for a spot on the team sheet.
Middlesbrough have a fully fit squad available for selection.
Sheffield Wednesday enter this match in great form with just the one defeat in their last six league games.
The Owls are also unbeaten at home this season but have drawn on four occasions, including their last three at Hillsborough of which two finished as 2-2 draws against Stoke and West Bromwich Albion respectively.
Barry Bannan, Fernando Forestieri, Joao and Adam Reach are Wednesday’s top home scorers with two goals apiece.
Middlesbrough meanwhile have been in a rut since returning from September’s international break, managing two wins, draws and losses apiece.
During that run, they have only produced five goals compared to nine from before the first international break, despite playing six games either side of that international break.
- Sheffield Wednesday have lost four of last five meetings with Middlesbrough, ending that run in January with a 0-0 draw at Riverside Stadium (D1, L4).
- Wednesday scored once in two of those five meetings with both goals coming at Hillsborough.
- Ex Boro winger, Adam Reach has opened the opening in Sheffield Wednesday’s last two home games. Both matches finished as draws with first being 1-1 and second finishing 2-2.
- Middlesbrough have scored only five goals in last five away games with four of those goals coming before half time.
Sheffield Wednesday are currently on a roll whilst Middlesbrough are starting to slip, which is a bad thing given that ex Boro winger, Adam Reach has netted in the Owls’ last two home games which were in front of Sky Sports cameras.
Although a draw would be good result, Boro have only had one training session to prepare for this fixture whereas Wednesday had a near full fortnight so I am backing a home win here.
Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Middlesbrough
Result: Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Middlesbrough