Middlesbrough stuttering in nail-biting promotion race

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As the Championship season sprints to the finish line, three teams remain neck and neck for the title.

Burnley, Brighton and Middlesbrough all sit on 87 points from their 44 games, with the trio separated by just two strikes in the goal difference column.

With a place in the Premier League on the line, not to mention the silverware from winning the Championship, it would be understandable if nerves had started to creep into performances.

Judging by the form book though, only one side appear to be flagging on the home straight.

Middlesbrough’s 0-0 draw with Ipswich last time out made it two games without victory for the Riverside Stadium outfit, having shared the points with Burnley in midweek.

Compared to their two rivals, that is not hot enough form to see them snag an automatic promotion place.

Sean Dyche’s Clarets are on a phenomenal unbeaten streak, having last lost a league game on Boxing Day.

Last season’s relegated Premier League outfit have won 14 of their 21 outings in that time, moving from fifth in the table to first as a result.

Brighton, who were the early pacesetters in the division after a 21-game unbeaten stretch of their own, have found a second wind of late and are now 12 games without defeat.

They beat Charlton 3-1 last time out and sit third on goal difference.

Although Boro haven’t lost in eight themselves, consecutive draws have increased the pressure on the north east side going into the final two games.

Ironically, the defining fixture in this tussle could come on the final day of the season, with Chris Hughton’s Seagulls travelling to face Aitor Karanka’s men at the Riverside.

That works well for Burnley, who are Ladbrokes’ 8/15 favourites to win the Championship, ahead of 12/5 Boro and 6/1 Brighton.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.