Brentford was a bit lucky to “steal” the play-off ticket in previous weeks, as the team somehow looked as slight outsider in that race for too long during the regular part of the season. They ended up previous weekend winning at home against Wigan in quite an easy manner with a 3:0 result, clinching the fifth position at the table.
It was their second consecutive victory, earned thanks to goals from Pritchard, Peleteiro and Gray, while the final difference could have been even bigger as Tarkowski missed the penalty kick in last moments of the game. Truth to be told, Wigan also had their own chances during the game, not being that outplayed as the final result shows, however the hosts looked like much more mature side. Midfielder Alex Pritchard (on loan from Tottenham) returned to the lineup with a goal against Wigan and will surely be used from the first moment here. Hosts will most likely go into this game with an unchanged squad in comparison to the previous game against Wigan, but Chris Long should be back in the squad after recovering from injury.
Even though they had chances to reach the third position and advantage in front of play-off rounds, Middlesbourgh disappointed their fans in last weekend’s goalless draw at home against Brighton. They were more dominant side making more chances, but the team simply didn’t have crucial determination in order to get the three pointer.
Visiting side was defending well all time long, while even they had some chances, while the ball possession ended up slightly in their favor. Anyhow, Middlesbourgh now awaits tough schedule in play-off rounds, starting with a semi-final game against Brentford away from home. Team lost the direct placement to Premiership in previous weeks, so no doubt that their atmosphere inside the locker room is slightly shaken up now. Coach Karanka knew his club’s destiny in previous round, so he rested couple of players for heavy schedule in play-offs. Strikers Patrick Bamford and Jelle Vossen could return, while defender George Friend is available after serving a one-game ban against Brighton last weekend.
Surely that both legs will be hard to predict, but Boro didn’t look very reliable in away matches recently. They have lost three out of last matches on the road, including 2-1-6 form in last nine matches away from home and I can’t see them as winners in first leg. Draw can’t be excluded, but in my eyes, Brentford seems to be awaiting this game in slightly better shape and atmosphere.
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