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Forestieri form a worry as Boro welcome Wednesday in Championship

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 27, 2015

Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday

  • Championship
  • Monday, December 28th
  • Kick-off: 17:15 GMT
  • The Riverside, Middlesbrough, Teesside
  • Live on Sky Sports 1 and 5

Owls on the up ahead of Teesside trip

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest - Hillsborough

The festive form of Fernando Forestieri has lifted Sheffield Wednesday to a point off the Championship play-off places following the Boxing Day fixtures, and their resurgence could well continue at many commentators’ pre-season promotion favourites Middlesbrough.

Carlos Carvalhal deserves great credit for bringing the Owls back into the picture, and they are a temptingly long 5/1 price with Coral to become just the third side this season after Everton and Bristol City to beat Boro on Teesside. Punters can double that price to 10/1 by backing an away win with both teams scoring.

The Riveside outfit are well-rested, however, as their first post-Christmas outing was postponed, and that makes Aitor Karanka’s men dangerous at an odds-on 8/13 price for victory. A draw is an 11/4 chance, meanwhile.

Owls attacking options as good as hosts

Forestieri’s brace in a 3-0 Wednesday rout of Birmingham City last time out took his seasonal tally into double figures. The ex-Watford forward also has four in two, so is a fabulous 15/8 anytime chance or 10/1 to repeat or better back-to-back braces.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Sheffield Wednesday v Nottingham Forest - Hillsborough

Carvalhal can also count on Albania-born former Austria youth international target man Atdhe Nuhiu, who has a terrific record against Middlesbrough. He was rested for the Boxing Day battle, perhaps with this match in mind.

While Forestieri is the man in-form, Owls striking alternative Nuhiu is a proven performer in this fixture with four in five, so is worth a wager at 15/8 anytime, or 13/2 to score last.

Wednesday’s recent games have contained plenty of goals, with six out of the last eight in the league seeing four or more flying in. Couple the Owls attack with some of Boro’s boys below, and a 16/5 price on the match total exceeding 3.5 looks pretty plausible.

Championship’s best defence to be breached

With Wednesday in such rampant form in front of goal, a miserly Middlesbrough defence is going to find it very difficult to keep them out. Karanka cunningly has some attacking options of his own, however.

Brighton and Hove Albion v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship - AMEX Stadium

Uruguay international Christian Stuani is leading Boro marskman with nine in all competitions, and he had the final say as they brought Brighton and Hove Albion’s unbeaten run to an end when last seen.

Just signing Stuani was something of a coup, so it’s little wonder he features in an enhanced 5/2 wincast. He needs to score and Middlesbrough record victory for this bet to come off, with punters able to stake a maximum of £20.

Forestieri’s former Hornets teammate Diego Fabbrini (6/4 anytime) and Boro skipper Grant Leadbitter (7/4) have both scored on more than one occasion against the Owls, so should regarded as threat for the hosts too.

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Coral’s top tip: Sheffield Wednesday are a terrific 10/1 to beat Boro and both teams find the target, so it’s surely worth a cheeky fiver given the Owls’ sensational scoring exploits recently.

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