Friday, 17 January 2014

Tough task at Boro

It's not a great time to play Middlesbrough away with the Teesiders third in the form table and unbeaten in their last five matches. They have only been beaten at home twice all season.

Boro will be looking to edge themselves into playoff contention when they host the Addicks. They are currently six points behind sixth place, but a victory this weekend could put them right in the mix of the chasing pack, depending on results elsewhere.

Middlesbrough won the earlier meeting this season 1-0 at The Valley in August. They are unbeaten in the last seven meetings in all competitions, winning five. Charlton's last win was 2-1 in the Premier League at The Valley in March 2006. Middlesbrough are unbeaten in the last three meetings at the Riverside in all competitions, winning two. Charlton's last win was 3-0 in the Premier League in August 2005.

Boro beat an admittedly out-of-form Blackpool 2-0 away last week. Shay Given was excellent in goal, commanding his area well. The passing of Emanuel Ledesma split Blackpool open. The pace of Albert Adomah was a threat throughout.

Middlesbrough have signed versatile England Under-21 international Nathaniel Chalobah on loan from Chelsea for the remainder of the season. Chalobah is the second player to join Boro on loan from Chelsea this month following defender Kenneth Omeruo. He will be working under Aitor Karanka, formerly Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's assistant manager at Real Madrid.

Hopefully we would have gone into this game with some sort of cushion from the home fixture against Barnsley. As it is, it is difficult to see us getting more than a point. However, Dale Stephens and Chris Solly should be available.

Odds: Middlesbrough 4/5, Draw 5/2, Charlton 7/2

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