Middlesbrough v Derby County betting tips – Boro out to remain in pole position

Can Middlesbrough make it four wins on the bounce when they face Derby County this weekend?

Middlesbrough v Derby County betting tips – Boro out to remain in pole position

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Glen Laidlaw

December 31st, 2015

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This must certainly rank as the Championship tie of the weekend as league leaders Middlesbrough lock horns with second-placed Derby County on Saturday afternoon, the victor kicking off the New Year as table toppers.

Middlesbrough failed to win promotion to the Premier League at the end of last season following a play-off final defeat to Norwich City, however they look on course to avoid a play-off scrap this time around with 49 points seeing them enjoy pole position ahead of this weekend’s clash. They currently enjoy a run of seven games unbeaten, their last defeat being a 3-0 thrashing at Hull in November.

Since that loss, they have bounced back in style with six wins and a single draw and they head into this fixture on the back of a 1-0 win at home to Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week. Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has been pleased with his side’s progress since the start of the campaign, however he is wary of complacency creeping in. He said: “We’re in a really good position. We’re really good at home, which is the key. It’s important to win at home and to show everyone how difficult it is to score against us and how consistent we are. It’s important for the team that we keep this run going.
“When teams are conceding goals, people look at the defenders or the keeper, but today I look at the team. Everyone has to attack and defend and we had 11 defenders on the pitch in the last five minutes.”

Derby County squandered an excellent opportunity to surge into top spot on Tuesday as they were held to a 2-2 draw away to Leeds United, however the Rams will be confident of getting the three points on Saturday, although Boro enjoy a game in hand and the Rams would have a massive mountain to climb should the hosts triumph at the Riverside this weekend. Derby County are outsiders at 23/10 with Bet365 to win on Saturday.

Derby manager Paul Clement kept Chris Martin, George Thorne and Ince on the bench for the Leeds clash, however following criticism he defended his actions by insisting that players need their rest and also need to be well managed. He said: “I don’t think it was a gamble. We’ve got a good enough squad to make those changes. Three changes, I wouldn’t say that was particularly significant. But then you have the value of those players to make an impact.  “It’s been a busy period, we’ve played six games and we have another very big game on Saturday at Middlesbrough, so you take those things into consideration.”

Derby have drawn three and won five of their last eight games, their last loss being against East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest and they will certainly provide Middlesbrough with a tough battle this weekend. Nevertheless, we’re struggling to pick a winner in this match, although given the goalscoring prowess of both sides, we’ll be going for Both Teams to Score at 7/6 with 888sport.



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