We have a good home record against Middlesbrough – 5 wins out of the last 5 meetings I believe. And we need nothing less than a victory today. Craig Bellamy is on fire and Dean Ashton will be hingry for his first league goal in eighteen months. I don’t expect many changes in the team line-up. Scott Parker is available for selection but it would surely be wise to put him on the bench and give him a run-out in the last 15 minutes. It may be that Lucas Neill is rested after an exhausting flight back from Australia, but probably not. Will Solano get a runout on the right after his trip back from South America? If so, it looks like Lee Bowyer would be the man to be sacrificed. here’s the team I expect Alan Curbishley to pick…
The subs bench is perhaps even more difficult to pick than the first team. Here’s my punt…
We shouldn’t underestimate Middlesbrough. On the face of it they have a pretty unimpressive side, but Mido seems to be on fire. They are the sort of team who can be rubbish one week and score a hatful the next (remind you of anyone?). I still think they will be near the bottom of the table at the end of the season. If we win today we’re in the Top Ten, which is where we’ve got to aim to stay.
I am so annoyed I am still on holiday and will miss this game. Think of me following it on my laptop this afternoon as I retire to my hotel room for ninety minutes of tension. Anyone know if I can get commentary on it anywhere?