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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Hope for Black Cats against injury-hit Leeds

Best bets for today's EFL action after the teams are announced

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis
1 of 1

3pm Saturday

Leeds v Sunderland

Sunderland’s performances have improved in recent weeks and the Black Cats look a good bet to avoid defeat on their visit to Elland Road.

Chris Coleman’s men were rampant in their 4-1 demolition of Derby on their latest away outing and despite losing 3-1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Monday they can take plenty of positives from their efforts, having enjoyed 53 per cent possession and won the shot count 21-8.

Inconsistencies continue to hamper Leeds and the injuries to defender Matthew Pennington and influential midfielder Eunan O’Kane, which were picked up at Fulham, may prove costly. Kemar Roofe is only fit enough for the bench and they look significantly weaker than could have been the case.

The powerful Lamine Kone is back from injury to partner John O’Shea for Sunderland and that will strengthen them significantly at the back.

Sunderland or draw double chance

2pts 4-5 Coral

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Middlesbrough v Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest are without a goal in four league matches and with potent striker Daryl Murphy still sidelined they could struggle to make their mark at Middlesbrough.

Midfielder Kieran Dowell, Forest’s leading marksman with ten goals, returns to the starting line-up but his duties are likely to be more defensive at the Riverside.

Boro are winless in three league outings but are bang in the hunt for the playoffs and have won four of their last five at home with their only upset coming against runaway league leaders Wolves.

Tony Pulis has plenty of attacking options at his disposal - Patrick Bamford and Adama Traore should make their presence felt - and they can ease past a toothless Forest.

Middlesbrough -1 on handicap

1pt 9-5 Betfair, Paddy Power

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With potent striker Daryl Murphy still sidelined Forest could struggle to make their mark
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