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Match Previews

PREVIEW: BORO V TOWN

22 April 2016

Town striker hopes to put on some impressive showings as just three Championship games remain

Brett Pitman is adamant that no Town players are on their holidays at this stage of the season, despite the Play-Offs looking out of sight.

The Blues make the long journey to face table-toppers Middlesbrough on Saturday and the striker hopes they can put in some strong performances in the three games that remain.

“We’ve struggled at home more than anything and that’s been our downfall, so next season it is something we need to address,” he told Ipswich Player HD.

“As a group of lads there is nobody that won’t try or be on their holidays. We’ll all give 100% and we just need to improve that little bit of quality from back to front and hopefully that will get us a few results.

“Middlesbrough will be hard to beat. They don’t concede many goals so they’ll be organised but they have good players and that’s why they are top of the league.

“We don’t want to watch them celebrate a victory where they could be another step closer to going up so we’ll be trying to spoil that for sure.”

Team News

Town

Daryl Murphy remains out injured for the trip up north with the calf injury he sustained on international duty with Ireland last month. Luke Varney also remains out, as does Giles Coke and Ryan Fraser, but Teddy Bishop should travel after building up his match fitness by completing 90 minutes in Monday’s 2-1 U21 loss to Sheffield United.

Middlesbrough

Gaston Ramirez and George Friend are doubtful for Saturday’s hosts due to calf and hamstring injuries respectively after both limped out of Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley. Boro boss, Aitor Karanka admitted that James Husband could slot into Friend’s place should he not make it after impressing him during his loans spells with Fulham and Huddersfield. They have no other injury worries to content with.

 


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Where They Stand

Town – 8th

Middlesbrough – 1st  

Last Time they met

Second-half goals from Cristhian Stuani and David Nugent were enough to seal victory for Boro at Portman Road when the sides last met back in December. Town could easily have had a couple of goals in the first-half as Brett Pitman and Luke Chambers forced big saves from Dimitrios Konstantopoulos but Stuani gave his side the advantage just ten minutes after the restart and they didn’t look back as Aitor Karanka’s side moved top of the pile.


 

Key Players

Bartosz Bialkowski

Town’s stopper hasn’t rested on his laurels since picking up the Supporters Player of the Year gong a few weeks ago as he has continued to put in impressive performances. The Pole made a couple of vital saves in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Fulham at Portman Road and he will be looking to continue his form at the Riverside on Saturday.

Jordan Rhodes

The former Town striker has begun to find his feet after a difficult start at the Riverside following his big money January move from Blackburn. He has scored three times in his last two games as ‘Boro have made themselves serious contenders to become Championship winners, although they will need Rhodes to add to his five goals for the club if they are to seal that position come May the 7th.


Sky Bet Odds

Boro: 2/5
Draw: 100/30
Town: 8/1

Match Officials

Referee: Darren Bond
Assistant Referees: Paul Marsden & Graeme Fyvie
Fourth Official: Mark Brown


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