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Tonight sees current Skybet Championship leaders Middlesbrough visit  2nd placed Burnley in what can only be described as a crucial match for both teams in their push for automatic promotion.

Both teams are bang inform, Middlesbrough having won six consecutive League matches and Burnley unbeaten in 19 games (won 13 and drawn 6) a run that stretches back to Boxing Day.

Burnley have doubts over striker Sam Vokes (groin) and midfielder Joey Barton who came off at half time during the 2-1 win at Birmingham.

The Clarets, who are two points adrift of Boro with four games remaining are winless in their last 5 matches against them, losing on 4 occasions. Middlesbrough having won 6 consecutive League games have not won 7 in a row since 1987 when they secured promotion to the second tier.

Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka has no fresh selection problems.

Uruguayan striker Cristhian Stuani completes his three-match ban after being convicted on video evidence of elbowing Preston defender Greg Cunningham, and he will be available for selection once again for Saturday's home clash with Ipswich.

Karanka made just one change for Saturday's hard-fought 2-1 win at relegated Bolton with midfielder Adam Forshaw, after his match-winner against Reading in midweek, coming in for Grant Leadbitter.

So how does that set this game up. Goals, maybe, the most probable outcome is a draw, there is a lot a stake and with Brighton and Hove Albion hosting Queens Park Rangers tonight too I'm sure Sean Dyche's Clarets are well aware that defeat for them and a win for Brighton would see them slip out of the automatic promotion places.

So the draw looks the most obvious outcome, but as stated earlier, Burnley do not have a great record against Middlesbrough, and for that reason and the injury doubts and that run must come to an end at sometime. I'm going to punt for Middlesbrough, 1-0.

 

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