Considering the fact that Middlesbrough are regarded as one of the larger outfits in the Championship, it is quite surprising to see that Huddersfield arrive at this match with relatively high expectations. The Terriers have enjoyed a hugely promising start to the new campaign following their promotion last term, although they are still four points behind opponents Boro who occupy 4th spot.
Most Middlesbrough fans are delighted with the way their side has started the campaign, especially after the Riverside outfit have struggled to make any sort of progress through the last couple of years. This term seems to be completely different though and Tony Mowbray’s men currently find themselves right in the playoff mix, with just four points separating them from the automatic promotion places. However, it remains to be seen whether the club will be able to sustain such a position, with recent form indicating that they are on a downward spiral. Several weeks ago they had put together a run which saw them win seven out of eight games, but they now head into this clash on the back of two defeats. With the last occurring at the Riverside against lowly Bristol City, it’ll be interesting to see how they bounce back in this next home game.
Huddersfield meanwhile will see this game as the perfect opportunity to make a move towards the top six places. Just one point separates the Terriers from 6th place – which highlights just how tight the Championship is at the moment. It could be said that the John Smith’s Stadium outfit have been on a run of indifferent form recently, with the team drawing, losing and winning their last three games. On a more positive note, they have collected four points from their last two away games and that could set them in a good position ahead of this encounter.
In terms of team news, Middlesbrough have several problems ahead of the match with the likes of Faris Haroun and Jonathan Woodgate both hindered with calf problems, while Grant Leadbitter sits out through suspension. On a more positive note, Julio Arca could return following absence. The visitors on the other hand have at least one player missing out through suspension in Adam Clayton, while they will find out on Tuesday if Keith Southern is eligible after appealing against his recent red card. Simon Grayson has to play the waiting game in other areas as well, with Sean Scannell and Jermaine Beckford pencilled in for late fitness tests.
As for a prediction, we think Huddersfield could prosper in this game. The Terriers have shown some encouraging signs on the road over recent weeks and with Middlesbrough hitting something of a bad spell, our tip will be a 2-1 win for the visitors.