Preston v Middlesbrough

27 December 2010 01:20
On-loan Manchester United youngster Josh King has been passed fit and is set to start up front for Preston.Defender Sean St Ledger is expected to be on the bench again. [LNB]Middlesbrough midfielder Nicky Bailey is hoping to be passed fit, having recently returned to training following a groin problem. [LNB]Defenders Stephen McManus (ankle) and Matt Kilgallon (back), Willo Flood (knee) and Rhys Williams (pelvis) are all long-term absentees. [LNB][LNB] MATCH PREVIEW Both these struggling teams had their Boxing Day fixtures postponed because of the freezing weather conditions. Middlesbrough's home match against Nottingham Forest was called off, as was Preston's game at Scunthorpe. [LNB]Preston, who last beat Boro in the league in April 1972, are bottom of the table but have been showing signs of improvement, and a victory in this match would be a massive boost for them. [LNB]It would also see them move above pre-season promotion favourites Boro, who are above the relegation zone only on goal difference, and leave the Teessiders in the bottom three. [LNB]Boro have won only one of their last six matches. They have also slumped to three consecutive away defeats, managing a total of only one goal from those three games. [LNB][LNB] MATCH FACTS Head-to-head[LNB]• Middlesbrough are unbeaten in six League games against Preston (W4, D2). [LNB] Have your say on this match • North End have only beaten Boro twice in the last 45 years. [LNB]Preston[LNB]• Preston have won only five Championship games this season - fewer than any other team. [LNB]• They are scoring a goal per home game on average, having scored 11 from 11 matches at Deepdale this term. [LNB]• North End have not ended a calendar year on a winning note since 2006. [LNB]Middlesbrough[LNB]• A defeat would see Boro end a calendar year with a loss for the third season running. [LNB]• Boro's last six matches have either been drawn or decided by a single goal.

Source: BBC_Sport