Middlesbrough’s improved form over recent weeks will be put to the test this weekend following the exit of David Wheater to Bolton Wanderers.
The 23-year-old centre-half moved to the Reebok in a deal believed to be around £2.3 million, with a further £1.5 million based on appearances.
The money will allow Boro boss Tony Mowbray to invest but, with the Teesiders just four points off the relegation zone, they could probably have done with the Redcar-born defender for Saturday’s game against Preston North End.
Middlesbrough might be 8/13 favourites in the Championship odds, but beating Preston will be a harder task than their bottom of the table position suggests.
Middlesbrough’s home defence was hardly inspiring with Wheater, with Boro having the eighth worst home defence in the league. A bet on Preston – who boast the eighth best away attack – to upset the Championship odds and win at 9/2 could be well worth a bet.
Backing Preston and new boss Phil Brown to come away from the Riverside with three points would pay out £138 if you took advantage of a free bet worth £25 with Ladbrokes.
Meanwhile, the signing represents yet another step forward for Bolton who are building an impressive team under the leadership of Owen Coyle. And Wheater seems suitably impressed with the way Bolton are going.
He said: “I met with the manager and we had a good chat about football. I had a look around the facilities and it was a really easy decision to make.
“From what I’ve seen there is a really great atmosphere at the club and a real buzz about the place and I’m looking forward to working hard and showing the manager what I can do.”
A £25 stake on the Preston to win 2-1 would return £375. New customers can sign up here for a free £25 bet.