Best Odds: 23/10
Two sides enjoying a very bright start to the new Championship campaign, a resurgent Sheffield Wednesday side will welcome Tony Pullis’ side to Hillsborough on Friday night.
Enjoying his first full season in Sheffield, Jos Luhukay has done an impressive job of transforming the Owls from a side that couldn’t even land a top half finish last season. Picking up a 2-1 win over fellow playoff contenders Bristol City prior to the international break, Wednesday are now unbeaten in their last four Championship outings. While Friday’s hosts may hold the worst defensive record in the top half of the table, Luhukay will be impressed by his sides recent performances. Along with taking three points off of the Robins earlier in the month, Wednesday have now managed to take points off of the heavyweight trio of Aston Villa, West Brom and Leeds during their unbeaten run. Yet to be beaten at Hillsborough in the Championship so far this season, one man to watch for the hosts will be attacker Lucas Joao. The 25-year-old grabbed both goals against Bristol City last time out and has been Wednesday’s star man this season.
Sheffield Wednesday welcome back a number of their key players with recently-injured Morgan Fox, Sam Hutchinson and Sam Winnall all playing in an Under-23s’ match on Friday, and could feature this weekend.
As for Tony Pulis’ Middlesbrough side, returning from the international break this week, the former Stoke boss will be demanding an immediate response. Tipped by many to be the leading contender for automatic promotion this year, Middlesbrough will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat against Nottingham Forest earlier in the month. While their six goals conceded does mean that the North West club hold the best defensive record in the Championship, Pulis will be concerned by his side’s lack of goals. Along with West Ham loanee Jordan Hugill yet to find the net on his return to the Riverside, last years top scorer has recently been dropped due to his poor performances. Still just sat three points adrift of Sheffield United at the top of the table, Pulis will also be looking for his side to improve their recent form on their travels. Middlesbrough have now managed to win just one of their last four league away matches.
Tony Pulis’ side have no fresh injury updates but could welcome a return to the starting XI for Britt Assombalonga who has played second fiddle to Jordan Hugill the previous two matches.
Key Factors to Consider
- Sheffield Wednesday’s last three matches at Hillsborough have finished with a score draw
- While Middlesbrough do hold the best defensive record in the Championship, no team in the top half of the table has scored fewer goals than Pulis’ side.
- The last time the two sides met back in January the two sides played out a 0-0 draw.
- No team in the top half of the Championship have conceded more goals than Sheffield Wednesday.
- Sheffield Wednesday have only failed to find the back of the net once at home since January.
If both Sheffield Wednesday and Middlesbrough want to show their promotion credentials then Friday will be the perfect opportunity. Given the fact the Boro have recorded just one win away from the North West in their last four and Wednesday drawing their last three matches at Hillsborough, we’re backing both sides to leave Sheffield with a point.
Best Odds: 23/10
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