We have 10 games left in the regular Championship season and the play-off battle is starting to split into two different sections. Among the upper section are Middlesbrough, who currently sit third, eight points clear of seventh-placed Norwich, and they may have other goals in mind.
There is now just a four-point gap between Middlesbrough and second-placed Sheffield United, and given current form, Boro may fancy their chances of overtaking the Blades to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League. Michael Carrick has been working wonders at the Riverside since taking charge at the end of October, winning 15 of his 20 Championship games with just four defeats – beating Sheffield United during that run.
Stoke, meanwhile, are part of a group of Championship sides that are beginning to look set for the beach in the final run in, neither included in the play-off fight or relegation battle. Despite their win over high-flying Blackburn on Friday, Stoke remained 11 points behind sixth-placed Millwall and need a lot of luck to go their way if they are to fight for promotion. Looking down, it’s now a 14-point gap over the bottom three.
The win over Blackburn also saw Stoke string together consecutive league victories for the first time since October, and the Potters will be hoping to build on this as they look for a strong finish under Alex Neil. So now it’s a chance to win three consecutive matches for Stoke for the first time since November 2021.
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Middlesbrough vs Stoke match stats
We look set for a goalfest on Tuesday night with two sides in good scoring form. Although they went two games without finding the net, beaten 1-0 by both Millwall and Brighton, Stoke have now scored eight goals in their past two matches. However, at the same time they have conceded three. Middlesbrough have also scored eight goals in their past two games, conceding one.
Looking to be among the goals again this week will be Chuba Akpom. The 27-year-old has been in phenomenal form for Middlesbrough this season since returning from an underwhelming loan at PAOK last year. Starting 26 of Middlesbrough’s 29 league games this season, Akpom has scored 22 goals and is the Championship’s top scorer – five clear of next-best Viktor Gyokeres. The Nigerian has also scored nine goals in his past eight matches, bagging a brace on three occasions.
17 August 2022 – Stoke 2-2 Middlesbrough – Championship
30 April 2022 – Middlesbrough 3-1 Stoke – Championship
11 December 2021 – Stoke 0-0 Middlesbrough – Championship
13 March 2021 – Middlesbrough 3-0 Stoke – Championship
5 December 2020 – Stoke 1-0 Middlesbrough – Championship
Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their past four games against stoke since a 1-0 defeat in December 2020. That win, however, is Stoke’s only victory against Middlesbrough since both sides dropped into the Championship in 2018.