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Norwich can keep run going by beating Boro in crunch clash

Norwich City have beaten Middlesbrough just once since 1988, but an eight-match unbeaten run, coupled with the Teesside team’s poor away form, justifies their status as home favourites to win on Friday night with Coral at 21/20.

Aitor Karanka’s Boro are 13/5 outsides to belie one victory in seven on the road, with a draw between these Championship promotion hopefuls comes in at 23/10.

Canaries coach Alex Neil will be relieved to have box-to-box midfield star Bradley Johnson back from a ban, after three in two prior to his suspension. Odds of 11/4 say he will make a scoring return to action anytime.

Goals from midfield have not been a problem in Johnson’s absence for Norwich, however, as Graham Dorrans netted in both fixtures his colleague sat out. Despite that, the Scot is longer at 11/2 in the anytime market to be on target for the third match running.

Johnson’s fellow former Leeds teammate Jonny Howson is chipping in too, with four from his previous eight, and that makes him a tasty 10/3 to add to that haul here.

While the host seemingly have goals galore coming from midfield, Middlesbrough are relying on Chelsea-owned England Under-21 forward Patrick Bamford to do the business. He has six in his last seven, so odds of 15/8 say he will increase his seasonal tally of 17 league strikes anytime.

Like Neil welcoming back Johnson, Boro boss Karanka can say the same for skipper Grant Leadbitter, who also completes a suspension. His dead ball deliveries are a key source of goals, so he’s 10/3 to net upon his return to midfield.

Ex-Belgium international Jelle Vossen opened the scoring last time out at Wolves, and is an 8/1 shot to do so again in East Anglia.

Taking the same price on Norwich winning 2-1 looks tempting, while punters who feel less sure about backing a precise scoreline should consider a home victory with both teams being on target as an alternative at 7/2.