Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Blackpool – prediction, team news, lineups
Sports Mole preview Saturday’s Championship game between Middlesbrough and Blackpool, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Mittelbrough will cement their third spot in the championship standings if they can defeat Blackpool Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, the Seasiders travel to Riverside Stadium, where they sit in the relegation zone, after a lengthy winning streak in the second division.
At a time when many of their rivals are still in the FA Cup, Middlesbrough are in a position where they can focus solely on the league, which can be satisfying Michael Karrik.
After being met for five by Brighton & Hove Albion, Boro has accumulated six points in three games and lost the derby to Sunderland when he was down to 10 men.
Responding against Watford last weekend was imperative and Boro delivered Chuba Akpom and Marcus Forss each got on the scoresheet with a 2-0 win.
Boro sits 12 points adrift of automatic promotion spots after playing one more game than Burnley and Sheffield United and has his eyes on the playoffs going forward.
Making some smart deals in the January transfer window should help Boro achieve that goal, but there must be no complacency ahead of one of their easier games on paper.
However, little should be read about the fact that Blackpool are now without a win in 10 league games Mick McCarthy was appointed as the club’s new manager.
The veteran boss began his tenure with a 2-1 deficit at Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup but there were enough positives to suggest he could turn the tide.
Blackpool remain within three safety points and their 14-point return from as many games is respectable given their current predicament.
Although McCarthy and his side will obviously be keen to rake in some of the North East visit, one eye could already be on upcoming home games with Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United, games that could prove crucial in the context of their season .
Form of Middlesbrough Championship:
Middlesbrough form (all competitions):
Form of the Blackpool Championship:
Blackpool form (all competitions):
Dael Fry Middlesbrough is available after serving a one-game suspension but may have to settle for a spot on the substitutes’ bench.
Cameron Archer Impressed in attack last time out and the Aston Villa loanee could get the nod Matt Crooks.
Although he also came from Villa, midfielder Aaron Ramsay will be out through injury until the middle of the month.
McCarthy could be willing to stay with the majority of the Blackpool XI, which started at St Mary’s last weekend.
James husband is scored after sustaining a hamstring problem in that game, and Curtis Nelson could be considered for an immediate debut.
Middlesbrough possible starting line-up:
Steffen; Smith, McNair, Lenihan, Giles; Howson, Hackney; Forss, Akpom, McGree; archer
Blackpool possible starting line-up:
Maxwell; Lyons, Connolly, Goode, husband, Hamilton; Bowler, Trybull, Patino; Poveda-Ocampo, Yates
We say Middlesbrough 2-0 Blackpool
With McCarthy at the helm, Blackpool could improve defensively in the coming weeks and months. That said, Middlesbrough have generally been excellent under Carrick and we expect a relatively comfortable afternoon for the home side.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, goal scores and more for this game, please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com predict under 3.5 goals in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their tried and true football tips.Under 3.5:Data