Middlesbrough will have gone into their midweek game against Stoke City potentially with an eye on an automatic promotion spot. Michael Carrick’s side were just four points behind the Blades and in good form, winning their past two matches. But Middlesbrough were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw, which allowed Sheffield United to open up a six-point gap.
While that gap isn’t too big to recover in nine games, Middlesbrough may now want to focus on making sure they’re in the play-offs. They are looking pretty comfortable, now eight points clear of seventh-placed Norwich City, but the makeup of the play-off places could change week by week. The four teams are covered by just four points and Middlesbrough will want to get the highest finish they can for the best possible draw.
For a while, Preston will have fancied themselves among those contending for the play-off spots but as the season has gone on they have drifted. Although Preston are unbeaten in their past six Championship matches, that has consisted of three draws and came off the back of three games without victory.
The run leaves Preston in 11th, seven points behind sixth-placed Millwall and perhaps just too far to be caught. Of course, Preston won’t give up until they are mathematically unable to gain a spot in the play-offs, and will be boosted by their two consecutive victories in their past two matches.
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Middlesbrough vs Preston match stats
Although Middlesbrough were held to a 1-1 draw, Chuba Akpom was on the scoresheet again in midweek. The 27-year-old has been fantastic this season and is the Championship’s top scorer with 23 goals in his 27 stats so far. Akpom has also scored 10 goals in his past nine matches, bagging a brace on three occasions.
Only two teams have won more corners than Middlesbrough in the Championship this season, with an average of 6.16 per game. However, that doesn’t mean this game is guaranteed to be a corner fest. In fact, we could be quite low on corners, with Preston winning the second least in the Championship so far, on average of 3.95 per game, while Middlesbrough have also conceded the fourth fewest.
29 October 2022 – Preston 2-1 Middlesbrough – Championship
7 May 2022 – Preston 4-1 Middlesbrough – Championship
23 November 2021- Middlesbrough 1-2 Preston – Championship
16 March 2021 – Middlesbrough 2-0 Preston – Championship
9 December 2020 – Preston 3-0 Middlesbrough – Championship
Preston have won their past three games against Middlesbrough including the reverse fixture earlier this season and will be looking to win four in a row in this fixture for the first time since 1905-1906.