Watford vs Middlesbrough predictions: Tough to split inconsistent duo
Middlesbrough will look to build on their first win of the Championship season when they travel to fellow promotion hopefuls Watford on Tuesday night.
Boro were tipped as contenders to go up this season but they have endured a slow start to their league campaign, while they were also dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Barnsley earlier this month.
Chris Wilder's side will hope their hard-fought win over Swansea City on Saturday will prove the catalyst for them to climb the table, although things will not be easy when they take on one of the title favourites, Watford.
The Hornets went unbeaten in their first five games, winning two, but go into this clash on the back of successive defeats, both at home, having lost 2-0 to MK Dons in the Carabao Cup before suffering a 3-2 loss to QPR at the weekend.
Watford duo Ismaila Sarr and Joao Pedro were doubts for Saturday's clash with QPR with hamstring and calf issues respectively, but were named in the starting XI by manager Rob Edwards.
Craig Cathcart, Yaser Asprilla and Vakoun Bayo were dropped to the bench against the R's, but that trio will be pushing for recalls due to the quick turnaround while Kortney Hause will be hoping for his first start after his loan move from Aston Villa.
Tom Cleverley, Jeremy Ngakia, Imran Louza, Samuel Kalu, Rey Manaj and Tom Dele-Bashiru are all injured while Keinan Davis is a doubt through illness.
Boro goalkeeper Zack Steffen missed the win over Swansea City and may not recover in time, while Matt Clarke will hope to keep his spot in defence after making his debut against the Swans.
Chuba Akpom has not played since suffering a knee injury in the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United and may not return before the international break.
The Hornets are unbeaten in nine league meetings against Middlesbrough since a 2-1 away defeat in October 2012.
Boro have found life difficult of late at Vicarage Road, having failed to score in any of their last four away league visits.
Wilder's troops have also struggled on the road, winning only two of their last 14 trips away from the Riverside Stadium, while they won only six away games all last season.
The roles could be reversing between the two sides, with Watford's strong start to the season now a thing of the past after successive defeats.
Edwards' side started the season in fine style, enjoying a five-match unbeaten run in the Championship, but back-to-back defeats have highlighted their defensive frailties.
On the other hand, Middlesbrough will be looking to start an unbeaten streak of their own after they got off the mark against Swansea following a tough run of matches.
The fixture list was not the kindest to Boro, pitting them against the likes of West Brom, Sheffield United, Stoke City and Reading in the first month of the season.
The Boro squad looks to have the potential to push on, but it is hard to back them with much conviction at this stage of the campaign.
Rather than focusing on the match-winner market with neither side having perhaps settled into their rhythm, delving into the goals markets could be the way to go.
Watford have scored in all but one of their Championship games so far, while the same can be said of Boro, with only Reading denying them in front of goal.
Both teams to score is worthy of consideration with Watford having home advantage while Boro have still scored nine goals, despite winning only one game.
Four of Boro's games so far have seen at least three goals which offers some temptation for over 2.5 goals on Tuesday, particularly with Watford on the wrong end of a five-goal scoreline last time out.