Preview: Middlesbrough v Albion

Our Seagulls correspondent - Patrick Gleeson

Our Seagulls correspondent - Patrick Gleeson

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Our Albion correspondent Patrick Gleeson looks at the Seagulls’ next match.

Albion face the long trip to the North East this weekend to go nose-to-nose with an out of sorts Middlesbrough side.

Boro have been faltering of late and dropped down the table and out of the top six, and the less than stellar performances have caused manager Tony Mowbray to publicly question their chances of a play-off place.

Team News

Albion are sweating on the fitness of wingers Will Buckley and Kazenga LuaLua after the pair came out of last weekend’s fixture with Leicester.

Spanish right-back Bruno has been given the all clear to return to training after a month out with a calf injury, but it is unlikely that he will play any part in the fixture.

Craig Mackail-Smith (Achilles), Will Hoskins (knee), and Ashley Barnes (suspended) are still all unavailable.

Middlesbrough have no fresh injury concerns to worry about, although it has been suggested that Mowbray may make some changes. It is believed that he may hand starts to a number of less experienced players in order to plan for next season.

Form

Albion have been guilty of not taking enough risks this season and have drawn the most games in the division as a result (17). Gus Poyet’s preference to play the patience game has seen Albion draw their last three games since their 3-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace.

Boro, as mentioned previously, are on a torrid run of form. Since the turn of the new year, the Reds have taken just eight points from 48 in a run of 12 defeats, two draws and two wins.

Albion Last 5

D D D W L

Boro Last 5

L D L L L

Head to Head

The reverse fixture back in October saw Boro run out 1-0 winners at the Amex. A Marvin Emnes goal was enough to secure the Reds’ fourth straight away win in Tony Mowbray’s 100th game in charge of the club.

Players to Watch

Leonardo Ulloa (Albion)

The big Argentine striker has been nominated for Player of the Month this week after seven goals in his six games. Ulloa has shown glimpses of brilliance since arriving on the South Coast, and being Albion’s only fit first team striker at present everything will be going through him.

Lukas Jutkiewicz (Boro)

From the forward’s 26 games in all competitions this season, he has scored 10 goals. The 24-year-old is often the man who sparks the Boro attacks and has no problems in finding the net, which Marvin Emnes wish he could claim.