Middlesbrough v Hull: Tight tussle forecast for Teesside

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CHAMPIONSHIP specialist James O'Rourke (@JamesOR1) shares his thoughts on Sunday's match-up between Middlesbrough and Hull.

Middlesbrough v Hull | Sunday 24th November 2019, 12:00 | Sky Sports

Sunday lunchtime sees out of sorts Middlesbrough looking to finally get their season up and running when they welcome Hull City to the Riverside Stadium, a team who has won three of their last four. Boro have just two league victories all season, but both did come at home against bottom half duo Reading and Wigan.

You just wonder how much pressure rookie boss Jonathan Woodgate is really under at Middlesbrough. Obviously from himself he’ll want more, as he’ll know that he is ultimately judged on results. Two league wins in 16 just isn’t good enough, but chairman Steve Gibson won’t necessarily want to pull the trigger.

Much has been said that Gibson likes to give time to the manager, but five permanent managers since October 2010 may tell a different story.

Woodgate does look to have settled on a 3-5-2 formation at this moment in time. They were dealt with a big injury list prior to the QPR game before the international break, but against all the odds defender George Friend took to the field to play in the defensive trio. Getting players back will only aid them as a whole, and the team generally need a boost as they’re winless in nine, but an away draw at QPR isn’t such a bad score.

Hull went down narrowly to league leaders West Brom last time out, which is no disgrace at all. They were on a three-game winning streak prior to that, including away victories at promotion hopefuls Fulham and Nottingham Forest. They’ll hope that’ll serve them well for Sunday’s trip to Teesside, but they’ll take nothing for granted.

Speaking of granted, head coach Grant McCann himself has been making some tactical changes in recent times. Jarrod Bowen played as an out and out striker in their last two games, so it remains to be seen if that’ll continue, or a more physical presence like Tom Eaves but Josh Magennis serves the final game of a four-match suspension.

We’re looking towards two selections for this game, both at odds-against as we look to end our weekend in a degree of profit. I personally don’t see this game ending a draw, even if Middlesbrough do draw plenty. I think tactically this may suit Hull on the road but Middlesbrough will have spells and this is a game they need something from, ideally a win of course.

The first play is the Winning Margin to be One Goal at 11/8 (Betway) – this is for either team. Five of Middlesbrough’s seven league losses has been by one-goal, whilst both wins were 1-0. For Hull, they have three one-goal margin victories to their name, whilst in terms of losing it is on four occasions, including their last two setbacks.

Finally, I personally like the look of Hull to be Leading at Half Time in this one, especially at a price of 27/11 (RedZone). Hull are actually one of the best first half teams in the Championship going into this weekend, with only Leeds have more points based on their opening 45-minute showings.

Middlesbrough have the worst, and Boro have also conceded the most first-half goals in the division, whilst only Preston have more goals in this period compared to the Tigers. On these sheer numbers alone, it is a worthy play.

Best Bets

Middlesbrough v Hull – Winning Margin One Goal (11/8 Betway)

Middlesbrough v Hull – Hull to be Leading at Half Time (27/11 RedZone)

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