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Prior to the start of the season, the bookies installed newly-relegated Middlesbrough as one of the favourites to win the Championship title and while that accolade will almost certainly be going to runaway leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers, the Teessiders will be confident of reaching the play-offs at the very least.
As things stand, Middlesbrough sit eighth in the league table with two points separating them from the top-six and new boss Tony Pulis will be hopeful that his side can close this gap when they welcome Fulham to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The hosts head into this match on the back of a decent run which has seen them win four of their last five competitive games, the sole defeat coming against promotion-chasing Aston Villa. Their latest outing saw them dump local rivals Sunderland out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win in front of their home fans and we believe that Pulis’ men can make it three wins on the bounce when the Cottagers come to town this weekend.
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Fulham sit just two points behind Middlesbrough as things stand, however the West London side have been something of a mixed bag of late with four wins, three defeats and a draw in their last eight games across all competitions. Their form away from Craven Cottage has been pretty indifferent with just one win in their last four matches on the road, this including a 1-0 defeat at rock-bottom side Sunderland last month. Will they head home from the north-east with anything for their troubles this weekend? We don’t expect so.
Middlesbrough have by-and-large been impressive in front of their home fans this term and while they have slipped-up a handful of times at the Riverside, we believe that they will grind out another win on Saturday afternoon and keep themselves in the hunt for a play-off place.
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