Doomed Bolton will be easy pickings for leaders Middlesbrough

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In 2004 Bolton Wanderers met Middlesbrough in the final of the League Cup, now they host the Riverside outfit knowing they will be spending next season in League One.

Everything has gone wrong for the Trotters both on and off the pitch since they got relegated from the Premier League, with the Championship outfit on a run of five consecutive losses in the league.

Conversely, Boro are on a five-game winning streak that has seen them unseat Burnley to go top of the table.

With only five games remaining, Aitor Karanka’s men are two points clear of the second-place Clarets and a further two clear of Brighton who are just outside the automatic promotion places.

Four more wins would guarantee Middlesbrough spend next season in the Premier League and Bolton, who have lost 23 of their 41 Championship matches, are the perfect side to face.

As such the league-leaders are overwhelming 3/10 favourites.

When the two met earlier in the campaign at the Riverside Stadium, Boro emerged victorious in a straightforward 3-0 win, with the hosts scoring three goals within the space of the opening 33 minutes.

The Trotters have let in 16 goals in their last five matches, meaning in that run they concede on average 3.2 times-per-match.

On the other hand, Middlesbrough have netted three times in two of their last four outings and can expect to add to this against such a leaky defence.

A 3-0 win for Boro is priced at 7/1 and would make sense given the previous encounter between the two along with the contrasting form of the pair.

The last time Karanka’s men won by such a scoreline, Gaston Ramirez scored twice in a victory over Huddersfield.

Since his January loan from Southampton, the Uruguayan has netted six times in 11 outings and a price of 4/1 says he’ll bag a brace against Bolton.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dan Ross

After a brief stint as a commentator, Dan took his passion for football into writing and went on to gain an NCTJ in sports journalism. A lifelong Walsall fan, he's followed the Saddlers through the highs, getting to Wembley for the first time ever last season, and the lows, namely relegation to League Two in 2006.