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Southampton vs Middlesbrough predictions: Saints to suffer home setback
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Daniel Childs
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Russell Martin has seen Southampton score eight times in their last two games, but they have also conceded five.
Russell Martin has seen Southampton score eight times in their last two games, but they have also conceded five.

- Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last four matches
- Southampton have conceded at least twice in seven of their last eight fixtures
- Recommended bet:
Draw

Southampton kept their automatic promotion hopes alive with a frantic 4-2 victory at home to Sunderland before the international break, but they will be under pressure to secure another maximum when taking on Middlesbrough at the St Mary’s Stadium.

The Saints were unbeaten in 22 league games between late September and early February, but they have sustained three defeats in the last six league games, leaving them with very little room for error.

Boro are also feeling the need to push for victories as they seek to cut the seven-point gap between themselves and the play-off places.

They will make the long trip south with confidence after taking 10 points from their last four fixtures.

Team news

Southampton must continue to operate without Kyle Walker-Peters, Ross Stewart (both muscle injuries), Ryan Fraser (knee) and Juan Larios (hamstring).

David Brooks (illness) struggled to make an impact for Wales against Poland on Tuesday and will need to be assessed.

Middlesbrough attacking midfielder Riley McGree sustained a foot injury while on international duty with Australia and striker Marcus Forss (hamstring) was injured in the 0-0 draw at home to Blackburn.

Rav van den Berg (knee) remains unavailable, but Josh Coburn, Dael Fry (both groin), Hayden Hackney (knee) and Alex Bangura (leg) have been progressing and could be considered.

Riley McGree is set to miss out for Middlesbrough after being injured while on international duty with Australia.
Riley McGree is set to miss out for Middlesbrough after being injured while on international duty with Australia.

The stats

Southampton have gone 10 matches since their last Championship draw, while the Saints have shipped two goals or more in seven of their last eight fixtures.

Eight of Southampton’s last nine matches have generated at least three goals.

Middlesbrough are unbeaten in four games for the first time since October, have kept three clean sheets in a row and are aiming to register a fourth successive shutout for the first time this season.

Prediction

Middlesbrough have the Championship’s sixth best away record with 29 points accumulated from 19 road trips and they can earn at least a point when taking on Southampton on the south coast.

There is a shade over five weeks left in the 46-game season and an intense period is in store for Saints, who have 10 games left to play.

They are keen to put some pressure on the teams above them, but could be held back by the defensive shortcomings which contributed to last month’s home losses against Hull and Millwall, both by 2-1 scorelines.

Russell Martin’s side have shipped 15 goals across their last seven league games and their shaky backline is sure to encourage the Teessiders, who have triumphed on three of their last four road trips.

Boro were 2-1 winners at Leicester last month and are not without hope of taking another major scalp.

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