Preston North End - Middlesbrough

After a run of three games without a win and especially after London humiliation against Queens Park (0-4), Preston put a decent display on the road and beat Sheff.Wed. (2-1). John Parkin scored a winner for a desperately needed win and staying in the top six. They have almost the same team from the previous season (finished sixth), all lines in the squad are well balanced, harmed dignity has been recovered and in my opinion they’ll be (along with Cardiff) the most serious threat to ex-Premiership crew (Newcastle, WBA and Middlesbrough). Only missing is departure on loan of excellent Sean St Ledger to ‘Boro (won’t play against own club) because the financial reasons. Good news came from medical service as Lilywhites have been boosted by the news that skipper Callum Davidson (defense) should make his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury. Also, absence of the key midfielder Paul Parry seems finished as he was an unused substitute at Sheffield and he should play. No new injury or suspension worries for boss Alan Irvine and best eleven should appear.

Middlesbrough started the season in Championship with clear intention for returning in the Premier League. And all started well as club was placed at the top of the table. Then crisis at Riverside and three consecutive home defeats without a single goal scored (WBA 0-5, Leicester City 0-1 and Watford 0-1). 'Boro bounced back at mid-week against Derby County as midfielder Adam Johnson scored twice for a 2-0 win. Then public was hit by the news that Gareth Southgate has been sacked. Well, it’s not about his capability to lead one team on 'Boro’s level, I first claimed he should chose more appropriate profession. The problem is the moment that seems wrong. Team finally won at home, players were pointing the team spirit, fans promising full support and I expect at least missing of positive reaction at Deepdale. Future boss (will be appointed in coming days), Gordon Strachan, will watch the game, but I doubt he’ll see too many good things. Team that will be led by coach Colin Cooper will miss mentioned defender Sean St Ledger, another centre back Seb Hines is a doubt, while skipper defender Emanuel Pogatetz could return after his knee injury. 

This will be the clash of two serious contenders for Premiership. Usually I would ignore any tought about betting on such game, but moment when it happens gives an advantage to the lads from Deepdale. And defense line without St Ledger (and maybe Pogatetz) will have a lots of problems to stop outstanding John Parkin. Home win (Pinnacle 2.70) should be considered as a gamble, while my advise is dnb (1.90 also Pinnacle). 


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