With five games to go, of which three are at home, the Cherries – after a successful March with 2 home wins and an away draw against Manchester United – started April with 2 good away draws against Liverpool and Southampton. However, after a home defeat to leaders Chelsea and an away defeat to 2nd placed Tottenham Hotspur, they have slipped closer to the trap door that leads to a drop into the Championship and are in 16th place in the league table.
Our visitors to Dean Court this coming Saturday are 19th placed Middlesbrough who are one of the two North East sides with one foot through the trap door that we meet in our next two games, the other are the bottom club Sunderland who we play away a week later. This will be our first home game in the Premier League against Boro, who were promoted as runners up in the Championship last season.
Since our meeting at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough have parted company with Aitor Karanka and he has been replaced by Steve Agnew who took over in the middle of last month. In his five games in charge Boro have drawn 2 and lost 3, the last game being a 2-1 home defeat against Arsenal. Since the beginning of the year on their away trips, Middlesbrough have drawn 2 and lost 4. This season away from home Middlesbrough have won 1, drawn 7 and lost 8, they have a good defensive record in only conceding 20 goals, equal 4th for the best away record in the Premier League.
In the January transfer window Boro signed forwards Patrick Bamford from Chelsea for £10 million, Rudy Gestede from Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee and central midfield player Adlene Guedioura from Watford for £4 million.
AFC Bournemouth Team News:
With Andrew Surman already out for the rest of the season, we now lose Jack Wilshere with a broken leg for the rest of the season. Hopefully Dan Gosling might be back for the game on Saturday.
Player to watch: Joshua King
Again Josh King, he has been in good goal scoring form recently and in this crucial home game with Middlesbrough who are fighting for every point, we need his speed and finishing to beat the stubborn Boro defence.
Middlesbrough Team News:
They could be without defender Fabio da Silva who picked up a knee injury against Arsenal on Monday night. Another player who took a knock in that game was striker Rudy Gestede. Their goalkeeper Victor Valdes missed the Arsenal game with a rib injury, but after being out for a while with injury, defender Calum Chambers could be available for Saturday.
Player to watch: Alvaro Negredo
Alvaro Negredo will be their player to watch, scored the only Middlesbrough goal against Arsenal, also their leading scorer with 8 goals and top with 4 assists.
Match Facts & Stats
In our home games in the leagues over the seasons against Boro, we have won 2 and drawn 4. In our away games we have drawn 2 and lost 5. In our away game in October Boro won 2-0. In all competitions AFCB have won 2, drawn 7 and lost 7.