Anyone getting a sense of deja vu? Middlesbrough are set to take on Coventry City in the first leg of their Championship playoff semi-final – just six days after playing them in the final game of the regular league season.
Middlesbrough are set to be without Dael Fry, Jonny Howson, Aaron Ramsey and Marcus Forss for their game against the Sky Blues. Of these four, Jonny Howson is the most likely to be available – the other three are confirmed absentees.
As previously mentioned, the two teams last played each other in competitive action less than a week ago. In that game, the spoils were shared, as the scores ended at 1-1 – Coventry’s Gustavo Hamer struck first, only for Boro to peg them back thanks to Cameron Archer on the stroke of half time. As such, neither team will enter the playoffs with any sort of mental advantage over the other.
Boro finished 4th in the Championship table after 46 games were played. Some fans may be disappointed with this, especially when automatic promotion looked like a distinct possibility – however, after their shaky start to the season under Chris Wilder, it is still a brilliant achievement and a testament to Michael Carrick’s managerial abilities.
Coventry, meanwhile, finished 5th in the table. The Sky Blues have been a club in crisis for over a decade now – nevertheless, under the stewardship of Mark Robins, they have routinely exceeded expectations and defied their detractors.