MX23RW : Thursday, December 2 15:45:37| >> :120:24617:24617:
Mar 14, 2015 at 12.15pm UK at Riverside Stadium
Middlesbrough
4-1
IpswichIpswich Town
Ayala (4'), Adomah (30'), Bamford (64', 79')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Murphy (11')

Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Ipswich Town

Sports Mole previews the match between Middlesbrough and Ipswich at the Riverside Stadium as two of the seven promotion hopefuls kick off the Championship weekend.

The Championship weekend kicks off with a clash of two Premier League hopefuls as Middlesbrough host Ipswich Town at the Riverside Stadium.

Each side has lost three of their last five matches to drop crucial points in what is a fascinating seven-horse race for the two automatic promotion places.

Boro remain joint top of the table on 66 points, along with Bournemouth, Derby County and Watford, ahead of what could prove to be the pivotal seven days in their season.

Aitor Karanka's side follow their visit of the Tractor Boys with away games at the Rams and Cherries, and a week without defeat would set them up nicely for the final fixtures.

Ipswich are five points adrift of the pacesetters following their 1-1 draw with Brentford, who themselves are a point and a place above them in the final playoff spot.

Mick McCarthy's side have the worst away record of the promotion contenders and still have to travel to top-half teams in four of their five remaining games on the road.

David McGoldrick and Noel Hunt remain sidelined and therefore Freddie Sears should continue to partner 22-goal top scorer Daryl Murphy, although Chris Wood, yet to net in three games since joining on loan from Leicester City, is an alternative.

The visitors could make changes in midfield, with both Paul Anderson and Teddy Bishop pushing for starts. Bartosz Bialkowski and Dean Gerken are rotated between the sticks, but the Pole may get the nod for the season run in.

Boro will be forced into at least one change, with Tottenham Hotspur loanee Ryan Fredericks having limped off during the 2-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest, in which Grant Leadbitter's 13th goal of the season was cancelled out by strikes either side of half time.

Jonathan Woodgate could make just a second Championship start of the campaign, with Tomas Kalas shifted to right-back, or Dean Whitehead may be asked to deputise in a role that he has filled competently during his career.

Two-nil victors in December, Ipswich were the only team to beat Boro between Halloween and St Valentine's Day, during which time they played 19 matches, but have won only once on their last six visits to the Teesside club.

Take a look at Sports Mole's full assessment of the Championship promotion race.

Boro:

Form in Championship: DLWLWL

Possible starting lineup: Konstantopoulos; Kalas, Gibson, Woodgate, Friend; Leadbitter, Adomah, Clayton; Kike, Bamford, Tomlin

Ipswich:

Form in Championship: WLWLLD

Possible starting lineup: Bialkowski; Smith, Berra, Chambers, Mings; Anderson, Bishop, Skuse, Tabb; Murphy, Sears

Sports Mole says: 2-0


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The trophy is displayed during the Sky Bet Championship match between Burnley and Leicester City at Turf Moor on March 29, 2014
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