MX23RW : Thursday, April 22 00:51:30| >> :120:7490:7490:
Apr 2, 2021 at 3pm UK at Vitality Stadium
Billing (14'), Lerma (66'), Solanke (83')
Billing (59'), Smith (79')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Watmore (63')
McNair (69'), Bola (90+1')

Preview: Bournemouth vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Championship clash between Bournemouth and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Promotion rivals Bournemouth and Middlesbrough meet at the Vitality Stadium on Friday afternoon in a huge Championship clash.

Bournemouth are three points adrift of the playoffs with a game in hand, while Boro are three points further back and cannot afford to lose this match.

Match preview

Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke celebrates with teammates after Swansea City's Joel Latibeaudiere scored an own goal in the Championship on March 16, 2021© Reuters

The Cherries were eliminated from the FA Cup by Southampton at the quarter-final stage in their last match before the international break, meaning that their sole focus is now on promotion back to the Premier League.

Bournemouth's form has been very inconsistent of late, having drawn, lost and won their last three league matches.

However, their last league game ended in a 3-0 win over high-flying Swansea City thanks to goals from Philip Billing and Arnaut Danjuma, either side of Joel Latibeaudiere's own goal.

Bournemouth's promotion hopes are now in their own hands thanks to a superior goal difference on Reading in sixth place, and they have a favourable set of fixtures to see out the campaign.

Friday's visit of Middlesbrough will be a tough test, though, against a side hot on their heels in ninth place.

Middlesbrough's Marcus Tavernier celebrates scoring their second goal against Preston North End in the Championship on March 16, 2021© Reuters

Neil Warnock has another promotion in his sights, but defeat to Millwall last time out - Grant Hall's own goal proving the difference at The Den - has increased the pressure for this trip south.

Boro have now lost back-to-back away games, although Bournemouth's home form is not much better, the Cherries losing three of their last five games at the Vitality Stadium in all competitions.

The Smoggies have never won an away league game against Bournemouth in seven attempts, with this being their first-such encounter since a 4-0 loss in the 2016-17 Premier League campaign.

Furthermore, Warnock has won none of his last four away league matches against Bournemouth since leading Huddersfield Town to victory in the 1994-95 season, something both he and Boro will be eager to put right here.

Bournemouth Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W

Bournemouth form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L

Middlesbrough Championship form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

David Brooks in action for Bournemouth on December 12, 2020© Reuters

Warnock and opposite number Jason Tindall have questioned the timing of this Good Friday fixture, which comes two days after the final set of March internationals take place.

Bournemouth's Chris Mepham and Shan Long represented Wales and Republic of Ireland respectively on Tuesday, the latter travelling to Hungary for that match.

As for Middlesbrough, Paddy McNair and George Saville are part of the Northern Ireland squad set to take on Bulgaria in a crucial World Cup qualifier on Wednesday evening.

That could give both managers a major selection problem, though Warnock and Tindall will of course be keen to get their best players on the field from the start.

Bournemouth will definitely be without midfielder Lewis Cook for this match, while Junior Stanislas, David Brooks, Lloyd Kelly and Adam Smith are all doubtful.

Danjuma should be fit to start, though, as he looks to score for the fourth league game running, having also assisted in each of the last two.

Anfernee Dijksteel and Marcus Browne are both nursing injuries from Boro's perspective.

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Begovic; Stacey, Carter-Vickers, Cook, Rico; Lerma, Pearson; Riquelme, Billing, Danjuma; Solanke

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Hall, Fry, Bola; Spence, Howson, McNair, Johnson; Tavernier, Fletcher, Mendez-Laing

SM words green background

We say: Bournemouth 2-2 Middlesbrough

The final stretch is in sight in the Championship and these two teams know exactly what is required if they are to drag themselves into the top six.

Boro know that a defeat on Friday could well put paid to their promotion hopes, but we can see them grinding out a point on the South Coast to stay within touching distance of their opponents.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured in February 2021
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