Jonathan Woodgate’s in-form Middlesbrough head to London on Friday night looking to continue their extraordinary run of results.
They take on Scott Parker’s Fulham outfit who are teetering on the edge of the title race. It will be an intriguing match-up as Boro have taken three points from both the Hawthorns and Deepdale in recent weeks and will not be daunted by a trip to the Cottage.
Fulham are a side on the cusp of the title race but have just lacked the consistency of Leeds and West Brom despite having, arguably, a squad to match both.
A battling win at Hull has kept them on the coattails of those above them but have they got enough to take down a resurgent Boro? Read on for our preview, predictions, team news and TV coverage information.
When is Fulham vs Middlesbrough and where can I watch live?
Competition: EFL Championship
Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Date: Friday, 17 January 2020
Kick-off: 7:45 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Sky Sports Football and live online via the Sky Sports app.
Last five meetings: Fulham vs Middlesbrough
26 Oct 2019: Middlesbrough 0-0 Fulham (EFL Championship)
13 Jan 2018: Middlesbrough 0-1 Fulham (EFL Championship)
23 Sep 2017: Fulham 1-1 Middlesbrough (EFL Championship)
24 Aug 2016: Fulham 2-1 Middlesbrough (League Cup)
27 Feb 2016: Fulham 0-2 Middlesbrough (EFL Championship)
Aggregate Score: Fulham (DWDWL) 4-4 Middlesbrough (DLDLW)
Ones to watch
Fulham: Ivan Cavaleiro
In the absence of Mitrovic, Ivan Cavaleiro will be a vital frontman for Fulham. His winner against Hull was enough to bag the away side a much-needed three points and if he can remain in good form, the London club have a chance to stay in contention with the top two.
His ability to take players on makes him a fan favourite and his direct contribution to 12 of Fulham’s goals (six goals and six assists) make him one of their most productive attacking talents.
Key stat: Cavaleiro has completed 46 successful dribbles for Fulham in the Championship this season, at least 19 more than any of his teammates
Middlesbrough: Ashley Fletcher
Ashley Fletcher has been immense since Woodgate moved him from wide on the left to a more central role. He has the ability to hold up the ball and press hard while Britt Assombalonga is more of a natural finisher.
Fletcher’s athleticism has been crucial in Boro playing a more intense level of football that is getting results on the pitch.
Key stat: No Boro player has been involved in more goals for the club this season than Ashley Fletcher (10 — six goals, four assists).
An ankle injury to Aleksander Mitrovic is a massive loss to Scott Parker’s side. He is the division’s top scorer with 18 goals and is set to miss at least a few weeks after being stretchered off against Hull. Fulham could choose to bring back Joe Bryan and push Reid further forward to adjust for the loss of the Serb.
Tom Cairney overcame a calf injury to make the bench in the win at Fulham and he could be back in the starting XI for the visit of Middlesbrough.
However, Parker may wish to keep faith in the side that bagged an important three points on the road with Ivan Cavaleiro netting an important winner.
Harry Arter is another player pushing for a start but he may have to be content with a place on the bench on Friday night.
Predicted XI: Rodak; Christie, Hector, Ream, Odoi; Onomah, McDonald, Bryan; Reid, Knockaert, Cavaleiro.
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Woodgate handed a full debut to new signing Lukas Nmecha in the cup against Spurs and he will be hoping to be involved again on Friday.
Aynsley Pears is likely to return in net having missed out on the game in mid-week while Hayden Coulson is expected to return at left-back in place of Marvin Johnson.
Predicted XI: Pears; Howson, McNair, Fry; Spence, Wing, Saville, Coulson; Roberts, Tavernier; Fletcher.
Woodgate’s side have been much better and their run of four wins in the last five will give them a lot of confidence heading into this one. If they can continue the positive form, they have every chance of getting something from Craven Cottage.
Fulham will want to win in order to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive although missing Mitrovic could deliver a painful blow to their chances.
It will be a close one and Boro could well leave London with a point.