Peterborough United entertain former Premiership side Middlesbrough on Saturday for the second time this season. Middlesbrough came away from London Road with a 2-0 win in the Carling Cup that time thanks to goals from Robson and Hines after completely outplaying Posh.
Posh will once again need to be at their best to get anything out of the game as Middlesbrough have the second best away record in the npower Championship having won 5 games and drawn 1 out of 8 away games. They also have the meanest defence having only conceded 14 goals in 17 League games!
Posh do have a decent home record though having won 5 out of 8 home games while losing the other 3 games. Posh to boast the highest scorers at home with 21 goals in their 8 League games but have also conceded 14 goals at home as well!
Posh will be without right back Mark Little (pictured below against Middlesbrough earlier this season) for the first time this morning as his rests his groin problem that he is awaiting surgery on. Craig Alcock will slot into the right back position with Leicester City loanee Tom Kennedy coming in at left back.
In midfield, Posh boss Darren Ferguson has a choice of his regular four players of McCann, Boyd, Frecklington and Rowe or whether fringe players Ryan Tunnicliffe and Daniel Kearns can force their way into the reconing.
The front pairing could be the most difficult choice Ferguson has to make. Emile Sinclair started on the bench last week against Birmingham City but following lacklustre performances from both Paul Taylor and in particular Lee Tomlin, he could see himself returning to the starting line up.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray has no fresh injury problems but he does have doubts with full-back Justin Hoyte and midfielder Kevin Thomson.
Hoyte has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem, while a similar injury has sidelined the Scotland international Thomson for the last five games.
Darren Ferguson said: “Middlesbrough are an excellent side in excellent form. They play with three centre-backs away from home and try to catch the opposition on the break.
“They outplayed us in the first half when they beat us in the Carling Cup earlier this season, but it is an advantage for us that we have seen how they play.
“Tony Mowbray and his assistant Mark Venus are a good management team and they play football the right way.”
“We will have to perform to the very limit of our standards, but if we do we know we can beat anyone at home.
“I`m very happy with the five wins from our eight home games, but also disappointed because we deserved two or three points more.
“Middlesbrough are a strong team with good players who play a system that obviously suits them. They were better than us in the Cup, but we have learnt from that match and we are confident we will be better.
“A lot is often said about systems, but it`s really about how your players perform on the day. If we are on our game we can give anyone a run for their money.”
STATS & FACTS
Middlesbrough have the upper hand over Peterborough having won 7 of the 14 meetings between the two sides.
Boro have visited Posh on three occasions in the League and have won one, drawn one and lost one. It was back in February 1994 that Posh won their only home League game against Boro 1-0.
Posh currently sit in 12th place with 23 points. They`ve won 5 of their 8 home League games this season and have scored an average of 2.6 goals at home.
Posh`s last six homes games have seen a pattern in the results – LWLWLW !! If this pattern continues against Boro, it will unfortunately mean another defeat for Posh. Posh`s last match saw them beat Derby County 3-2 despite going 1-0 and 2-1 down during the game.
Captain marvel Grant McCann leads the scoring charts for Posh this season with eight League goals. Paul Taylor has five League goals while there are three playing each having scored four League goals this season – Lee Tomlin, Lee Frecklington and Emile Sinclair.
Posh have only been involved in two games this season where there was more than a single goal difference between the teams. They were the 7-1 demolition of Ipswich Town and also the 2-0 away defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Posh haven`t drawn a game at home this season and it`s been 17 games since they kept a clean sheet. However, it is an incredible 92 games since Posh were involved in a No Score Draw!!
Middlesbrough are just three points outside the automatic promotion places and lie in 4th place with 31 points. They have a formidable defence having conceded just 14 goals in the League this season. They`ve scored 10 goals on their travels while conceding 7.
Boro`s last six away League games have seen them win three, draw one and lose two.
Hotshots for Boro this season in the League are Emnes with seven goals followed by Robson with five and McDonald with four.
Posh were completely outplayed in the Carling Cup fixture against Middlesbrough earlier in the season but since that game, they have been learning and are a hard outfit to beat.
In the 16 out of 17 League games Posh have been involved in this season, the winning margin has been just one goal! If Posh can perform to their potential, I can see this game being another closely fought one.
Posh haven`t drawn at home this season but I`m going to predict a draw this time. Posh managed a battling 1-1 draw away at Birmingham City and I can see a similar result today.
The Vital Posh prediction is?
Peterborough United 1 – 1 Middlesbrough
Stuart ATTWELL takes charge of this match.
He will be assisted by Gary Beswick and Stuart Burt.
The fourth official is Carl Berry.
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