Dec 14, 2013 at 3pm UK at ​Riverside Stadium
BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion
FT(HT: 0-0)
Upson (85')
Upson (70')

Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Brighton & Hove Albion

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash at the Riverside as Middlesbrough host Brighton.

Brighton & Hove Albion could move into the playoff positions with a win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Saturday if other results also go their way.

The Seagulls have lost just one of their last eight matches to leave them three points off fifth and sixth place, although they are just one of four teams who could potentially move into the playoff positions this weekend.

Oscar Garcia's side are unbeaten in their last four away games and have only lost twice on their travels all season, relying more on their away form than their home form to launch a playoff charge.

The visitors, who beat high-flying Leicester City 3-1 in their last outing, could stick with Peter Brezovan in goal while Adam El-Abd is likely to come in for the injured Gordon Greer.

Leonardo Ulloa and Kazenga Lua Lua could play some part after returning from injury, but the match comes too soon for Craig Mackail-Smith, who still doesn't have a date set for his return.

Middlesbrough, meanwhile, have been dogged by inconsistency so far this season and find themselves in 18th place, just four points clear of the relegation zone.

They have won just one of their last six matches and have not produced the same result back-to-back since mid-September, when they drew with both Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth in the space of five days.

Aitor Karanka's side are in good form at the Riverside, however, having not lost any of their last eight matches in front of their own fans, including three wins from the last four.

The hosts were only denied three points by a last-gasp equaliser from Birmingham to make it 2-2 in their last outing, and they could name an unchanged lineup for this weekend's match with Emmanuel Ledesma still struggling with injury.

Recent form

Middlesbrough: LDLWLD

Brighton: DLDWWD

Possible starting lineups

Middlesbrough: Given; Ayala, Woodgate, Gibson, Williams; Whitehead, Leadbitter, Adomah, Emnes, Carayol; Kamara

Brighton: Brezovan; Bruno, Upson, El-Abd, Ward; Crofts, Bridcutt, Lopez, Ince, Conway; Barnes

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Brighton boss Oscar Garcia on the touchline during a game with Burnley on August 24, 2013
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Preview: Brighton vs. Watford
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