2021-22 Sky Bet Championship: Week 24 – Sunday

Middlesbrough welcome Nottingham Forest to the Riverside Stadium in a crunch Boxing Day clash in the race for Sky Bet Championship Play-Offs. 

Victory would see Middlesbrough climb to fifth if Stoke and Coventry lose elsewhere, whereas Forest can go fifth themselves with a win and the same scenarios elsewhere swinging in their favour.

 

Team News

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Marc Bola is ruled out for Middlesbrough after suffering a knee injury in training prior to last weekend’s win over Bournemouth.

Marcus Browne is meanwhile a long-term absentee as he continues to recover from a knee injury suffered at Brentford in Boro’s Third Round exit of last season’s FA Cup.

Forest will be without Alex Mighten and Jordi Osei-Tutu after the pair were substituted with respective knee and ankle injuries in last weekend’s win over Hull.

Max Lowe (groin) and Loic Mbe Soh (thigh) remain absent.

 

Stat Attack

  • Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last six matches against Nottingham Forest (W4, D2).
  • Nottingham Forest have won two of their last five visits to the Riverside Stadium (W2, D1, L2).
  • Boro’s Jonny Howson has been yellow carded in his last two appearances against Forest.
  • Three of Boro’s 16 league goals at home this season have been scored from the penalty spot via three different goal scorers – Uche Ikpeazu, Paddy McNair and Andraz Sporar.
  • Under Steve Cooper, Forest have scored in all four matches in which Brennan Johnson scored with three of the midfielder’s four goals coming after half-time.

 

Prediction

Having needed time to adapt to Chris Wilder’s compact style of play, Boro have done a great job to sort out their defensive issues with three well-deserved clean sheets this month, which was evident in a solid win last weekend with an all-round improvement on and off the ball.

Forest though are absolutely flying under Steve Cooper and are one of the in-form teams at present, which was evident in their attitude during their win over Hull because they just maintained pressure and discipline even when they fell behind which proved crucial in the end.

Both teams though have responded well under their latest managers and with a compact Boro against a hard-pressing Forest, this could either be scrappy or a thriller but I am going for a middling result here although it should be tense for both teams and fans alike.

Prediction: Middlesbrough 1-1 Nottingham Forest

Result: Middlesbrough 2-0 Nottingham Forest

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