Another home win for Middlesbrough tonight could lift them into an automatic promotion place and they will be confident of achieving this following a five-match unbeaten run.
Boro’s home form has been excellent, the side recording just two defeats at the Riverside since the start of the season, conceding just eight home goals during that time. As such, they will be confident that they can continue this excellent record when they welcome Cardiff City to the North-east this evening.
With Cardiff hosting Reading in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend and Middlesbrough making a trip to the Etihad in the same competition, this clash has been brought forward to tonight and with Championship leaders Bournemouth hopeful of defeating Leeds United at Elland Road and securing a four point lead at the top of the table, Boro will be hoping to be their main rivals for top spot.
Aitor Karanka’s side boast the Championship’s best defensive record and as such, we’ll be backing them to win this match whilst maintaining their excellent run of clean sheets at home which currently stands at three with Derby County, Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield all being sent home goal-less.
Indeed, with Middlesbrough’s last seven results containing a ‘nil’ in the scoreline, we’ll be avoiding ‘both teams to score’ on this occasion.
Cardiff are sitting mid-table and they are extremely unlikely to feature in either a promotion push or battle against relegation this season, barring a dramatic turnaround of course. Cardiff manager Russell Slade has been in charge since October following the exit of former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and he may well be looking to next season for a concerted promotion push, instead perhaps concentrating this season on a decent FA Cup run.
Middlesbrough need to win games such as this and we feel that they can do this and take a huge step towards their ultimate aim of securing a place in the automatic promotion places at the close of the season.
Our betting tips
Middlesbrough to win with under 2.5 goals – Betway 12/5
Middlesbrough win-to-nil – Paddy Power 7/5
All odds were correct at time of posting.