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Preview: Norwich City vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Norwich City and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Norwich City will be aiming to extend their lead at the top of the Championship table when they host Middlesbrough on Saturday.

The Canaries are currently six points clear of second place Swansea City, while Boro are three points behind the playoffs in seventh.


Match preview

Norwich City's Emiliano Buendia celebrates scoring their first goal against Barnsley on January 2, 2021© Reuters

Norwich were knocked out of the FA Cup last weekend by Barnsley but that will only make them more dangerous as their full focus will now be on the league and winning promotion.

Daniel Farke's side are on a run of three consecutive Championship victories and have picked up 25 points from the last 30 available.

The Canaries are unbeaten in their last 12 home matches, with their only defeat at Carrow Road this season coming against Derby County in October.

This is the start of a potentially crucial period in Norwich's promotion push as they face 10 games in the space of 36 days, including an enticing clash with Swansea City next Friday.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured on January 16, 2021© Reuters

Middlesbrough are also in action against a promotion-chasing side next week as they host Brentford, but they must improve their record against the sides higher than them if they are to break into the playoff positions.

Neil Warnock's side picked up six points from a possible 18 against the current top six in the first half of the season, losing 1-0 in the reverse fixture with Norwich as Teemu Pukki scored a second-half penalty.

Eccentrically, that was the fifth consecutive game that the Canaries had won by that scoreline against Middlesbrough, which might be an omen on Saturday.

The Teeside outfit fell to their joint-heaviest defeat of the season on Wednesday night as they were beaten 3-0 at home by strugglers Rotherham United.

It was a third successive loss at the Riverside so Boro may be pleased to be on their travels again as they have won three of their last four away games, but Warnock's side have not kept a clean sheet on the road since the beginning of November.

Norwich City Championship form: WLDWWW
Norwich City form (all competitions): DWWWWL

Middlesbrough Championship form: LWLWLL
Middlesbrough form (all competitions): WLLWLL


Team News

Norwich City manager Daniel Farke pictured on January 23, 2021© Reuters

In-form Jordan Hugill was forced off in last weekend's cup defeat to Barnsley with a hamstring problem and is likely to miss Saturday's game, but Pukki and Adam Idah are back in contention following injuries of their own.

Oliver Skipp, Mario Vrancic and Emiliano Buendia are expected to return to the starting lineup after dropping to the bench at Oakwell.

Kenny McLean tested positive for coronavirus in the lead up to that game so will still be absent, while Todd Cantwell missed the match with a back problem but could return.

Middlesbrough confirmed the loan signing of Yannick Bolasie on Thursday morning, and the winger is expected to go straight into the squad for the trip to Carrow Road.

Dael Fry is close to returning after suffering blurred vision following a boot to the face against Blackburn, but the weekend might come too soon for him; Anfernee Dijksteel and Marcus Tavernier remain out.

Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Sorensen; Skipp, Tettey; Buendia, Vrancic, Cantwell; Pukki

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Spence, Wood, McNair, Bola; Morsy, Howson, Saville; Watmore, Assombalonga, Bolasie


SM words green background

We say: Norwich City 2-0 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough's squad is being stretched by injuries at the moment, and Norwich are sure to be tough opposition this weekend. The Canaries will dominate possession and could emerge quite comfortable victors as they continue their push for promotion.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data


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Norwich City manager Daniel Farke pictured on January 23, 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich41279565283790
2Watford412410759273282
3Swansea CitySwansea412291050311975
4Brentford402013771403173
5Bournemouth4120111066402671
6Barnsley412181254441071
7Reading411991356451166
8Cardiff CityCardiff4116111457451259
9Millwall411416114140158
10Middlesbrough41169164845357
11Queens Park RangersQPR411511154850-256
12Stoke CityStoke411413144546-155
13Luton TownLuton40158173546-1153
14Bristol City41155214055-1550
15Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest411213163439-549
16Preston North EndPreston41146214155-1448
17Blackburn RoversBlackburn411211185247547
18Coventry CityCoventry411112183756-1945
19Birmingham CityBirmingham411112183150-1945
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield411111194362-1944
21Derby CountyDerby411110203046-1643
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham39116224153-1239
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds41118223454-2035
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe4189243064-3433

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