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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Playoff contenders must be positive in battle at Riverside

Middlesbrough and Millwall could serve up a thriller

Middlesbrough livewire Adama Traore
1 of 1

Sky Bet Championship
Sky Sports Football, 5.30pm Saturday

Matches involving these promotion rivals haven’t always produced goals but there are good grounds for believing they can buck that trend at the Riverside.

Middlesbrough’s games have averaged 2.41 goals this term, with Millwall’s featuring 2.3 each, hence the odds-on quotes about under 2.5 goals.

However, eight of Boro’s last 12 assignments have yielded at least three goals while Millwall’s 3-0 home drubbing by Fulham last time out was the first match in three months in which they had failed to score.

Strengthening the case for goals is the fact that the Lions need to win to entertain any realistic hopes of finishing in the top six while a point may not be enough for Boro, either.

There is plenty of attacking intent in the home ranks and they are firing in far more goals under Tony Pulis than they did when Garry Monk held the reins, which seems extraordinary given Pulis's track record.

He is blessed to have forwards of the calibre of Patrick Bamford and Britt Assombalonga while Spanish youngster Adama Traore is an absolute gem and a player Millwall need to stop in his tracks.

Back-to-back 2-1 wins against Bristol City and Derby were real statements of intent by Boro, who have won six out of seven at home with the only defeat coming against champions Wolves.

It makes Boro hard to resist, although odds-on quotes against a comparable side look on the short side.

Millwall have become road warriors – they will equal a club record of ten successive away games unbeaten if they avoid defeat at the Riverside. The defeat by Fulham was their first loss in the league since New Year’s Day.

Neil Harris’s men have been involved in a joint league-high 16 games featuring under 1.5 goals and he’d love to be able to travel south with a sixth 1-0 win of the season under his belt but this looks likely to be more entertaining.

Recommendation
Over 2.5 goals
1pt 9-8 188Bet

Bet on this match at Soccerbase.com

Team news
Middlesbrough
Patrick Bamford has recovered from a head injury. Rudy Gestede is out for the season.

Millwall
Tim Cahill is banned. Byron Webster is the only long-term absentee.

Key stat
Eight of Middlesbrough’s last 12 matches have produced three goals or more.


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Back-to-back 2-1 wins against Bristol City and Derby were real statements of intent by Boro, who have won six out of seven at home
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