Sky Sports EFL pundit David Prutton has suggested that Watford will continue their impressive run of form and take another important step on the road to automatic promotion away against Middlesbrough.
Watford travel to the Riverside having managed to register a sixth successive win in the Championship on Good Friday with a narrow 1-0 win over struggling Sheffield Wednesday. That victory showcased the Hornets’ grit and determination, as well as their added quality which is helping to see them through tight matches at the moment.
The Hornets have also been boosted by the results of Swansea City and Brentford, who both dropped points on Friday and Saturday. That means they head into the early kick-off against Boro with the chance to go 11 points clear of their two closest rivals for the second automatic promotion place.
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, head into the game needing to secure all three points to give themselves a chance of staying in the mix for the play-offs. Neil Warnock’s side suffered a major setback against Bournemouth on Good Friday losing 3-1 and falling to a second successive defeat. That has left them with a lot of work to do to claw back the ground on the teams above them.
Boro will still believe that if they can pick up a lot of wins from their remaining games then they will be able to put some pressure on the likes of Barnsley, Reading, Bournemouth and Cardiff City above them.
However, they will have to pick up three points somewhat against the odds and the form table against Watford to give themselves a chance of staying in the mix.
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Making his latest predictions for Sky Sports, Prutton suggested that Watford will have too much for Boro at the moment in their current form and that they will make it seven successive wins at the Riverside. While he also thinks that whilst Middlesbrough are still in the top six hunt they have to start a winning run very soon. He predicts a 2-0 success for the Hornets.
He wrote: “Middlesbrough are still in with a play-off shout, in my opinion, with just seven points between themselves and sixth-placed Reading but games are running out and Neil Warnock’s men will need to kick on pretty quickly to stay in the mix.
“Meanwhile, there really is no stopping Watford at the moment. The win over Sheffield Wednesday on Good Friday was a narrow one and they weren’t at their best, but, crucially, they held on to win a sixth straight game. I think they’ll make it seven here.”
It is difficult to disagree here with what Prutton has suggested, with Middlesbrough not in the sort of form that gives confidence they have enough to upset Watford and bring to an end their excellent run of form. Although having said that Boro will have some of the pressure off them now and Warnock can just look to inspire his side to pick up as many wins as possible.
Coming up against a Warnock team when you need to keep picking up points in a promotion battle is not the easiest of tasks. However, Watford look a side that are not going to affected by anything their opponents do at the moment and they have shown they can be involved in scrappy matches and come out on top.
Should Watford go on to secure all three points here, it would be difficult to see them being caught by anyone in the remaining matches. While anything other than a win for Boro really ends their campaign from the perspective of being able to still make the play-offs. It is therefore a crucial encounter at the Riverside.