On the final day of the 2021/22 Championship season we still have two play-off spaces to be filled and Middlesbrough will be hoping to grab one of them. Chris Wilder’s men have already had a good season, reaching the FA Cup quarter-finals, beating Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur on the way but this will be their way to end it on a high.
Boro haven’t been in the Premier League since 2016/17 when they managed a solitary season after seven years away, and they went closest to returning just one year after their drop, losing in the play-off semi-finals. They haven’t been in the play-offs since and they will be relying on other results to get there this time around. Boro will only make it if they beat Preston and Sheffield United or Luton drop points this weekend.
Preston, meanwhile, are playing for the pride of a top-half finish but there are seven other teams joining them in that battle – and they won’t be the favourites. So Middlesbrough fans may be hopeful of a result here, should Preston already be on the proverbial beach.
It’s been an unmemorable campaign for Preston, not too bad but also not too good, winning 15 times, losing 14 and drawing 16 – the latter, more than any other team in the Championship this season. However, there is every chance that Preston step up their game to give defender Paul Huntington a good send off after he announced he would be leaving, ending a 10-year association with the club.
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Despite their runs in the FA Cup, Middlesbrough haven’t been the most exciting of teams to watch in the Championship this season. In total, 28 of Boro’s 45 Championship games so far this season have seen under 2.5 goals scored – with only Hull (31) and Barnsley (29) doing so more frequently.
Middlesbrough haven’t been the cleanest of sides in the Championship this season, being shown 96 yellow cards and two red cards so far. Only three teams have received more across the campaign, while Preston have received 87 cards.
23 November 2021 – Middlesbrough 1-2 Preston – Championship
16 March 2021 – Middlesbrough 2-0 Preston – Championship
9 December 2020 – Preston 3-0 Middlesbrough – Championship
1 January 2020 – Preston 0-2 Middlesbrough – Championship
1 October 2019 – Middlesbrough 1-1 Preston – Championship
Middlesbrough and Preston have traded wins recently, with two each coming as the away side. But Preston will be looking to do the double over Boro for the first time since 1971/72, having won the first game this season.