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Fulham face Middlesbrough ~ Ch. Match Preview MD45

last updated Saturday 25th April 2015, 12:22 AM


Fulham Manager Kit Symons
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Middlesbrough will travel to lowly Fulham on Saturday afternoon needing a win to maintain their push for an automatic promotion place.

Fulham have secured their Championship status for next season following last weekend's win at Blackpool, so the Cottagers will be looking to upset the odds by toppling Boro now that the pressure is off.

After a season to forget, Fulham sit nine points clear of the relegation zone with two games remaining and have finally ensured that they will remain in the second tier next term.

Symons took charge of the West Londoners back in September following the departure of Felix Magath and he has fulfilled his remit of keeping Fulham in the Championship, even if there were many ups and downs along the way.

One win from 12 games at the beginning of 2015 had threatened to drag Fulham back into the relegation mire, but just one defeat from their last six has prevented a second successive relegation, following their drop out of the Premier League last season.

Strikers Ross McCormack and Matt Smith have been in fine form lately, netting seven goals between them in five games, but they will find it tough against a Boro side that boasts the best defensive record in the division, having conceded just 33 times in 44 outings.

Middlesbrough could be just two games away from securing a dream return to the Premier League, six years after they last played at that level.

To go up, Boro must better either Bournemouth or Watford's results over the last two games and hope that the top two slip up somewhere along the line. As it stands, the Teesiders are third in the table on 84 points, with only goal difference keeping them out of the automatic promotion places.

Promotion would be a fine achievement for Boro and their head coach Aitor Karanka, who has turned them from a mid-table outfit to Premier League hopefuls since taking charge just over 18 months ago.

Karanka's men secured an impressive 1-0 victory over promotion rivals Norwich City at Carrow Road a week ago, which keeps them on the coattails of Bournemouth and Watford.

Boro have picked up one trophy this week, with striker Patrick Bamford scooping the Championship Player of the Year award after netting 17 times this season while on loan from Chelsea.

Middlesbrough are in fine form, having won five of their last six games and, with the promotion race so tight, another win at Craven Cottage could make all the difference.

    Head-to-head

  • Middlesbrough came out on top when the sides met in the reverse fixture at the Riverside Stadium back in October, with goals from Adam Reach and Adomah giving them a 2-0 win.


  • Middlesbrough have the better overall record against the Cottagers, winning 27 times to Fulham's 22, although their record at Craven Cottage is not as good, with Fulham winning 15 of the 28 meetings there.


  • Fulham won 3-0 when Middlesbrough last visited the Cottage, which came in the 2008-09 season when both sides were in the Premier League.


  • Fulham have won three of the last four meetings at Craven Cottage, losing the other. Middlesbrough's only win there since 2004 was 2-1 in the Premier League in August 2007.



  • Fulham


  • Fulham won 1-0 at Blackpool last Saturday - their first win in five games.


  • Fulham have not won any of their last five home games, losing three. Their last win at Craven Cottage was 2-0 against Derby on 28 February.


  • Fulham have won 40%, drawn 25% and lost 35% of their last 20 home games.


  • In their last 20 home games, 20 of the 32 goals scored by Fulham have come from forwards, 6 from midfielders and 6 from defenders.


  • Fulham have conceded in 75% of their last 20 home games.


  • Fulham have kept a clean sheet in 25% of their last 20 home games.



  • Middlesbrough


  • Middlesbrough have won their last three games. Their last defeat was 2-0 at Watford on 6 April.


  • Middlesbrough won 1-0 at Norwich on 17 April - only their second win in eight away games in all competitions.


  • Middlesbrough have won 45%, drawn 25% and lost 30% of their last 20 away games.


  • In their last 20 away games, 11 of the 19 goals conceded by M'Boro have come from forwards, 5 from midfielders and 2 from defenders.


  • Middlesbrough have conceded in 60% of their last 20 away games.


  • In their last 20 away games, M'Boro have scored the first goal 10 times and conceded the first goal 7 times.


  • Middlesbrough have kept a clean sheet in 40% of their last 20 away games.
























Source Steven Toplis at SportsMole/BBCSports/KickOff
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