If you ask you shall receive. The Sky Bet Championship continues to deliver some of the biggest games available right at the business end of the season.
Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough is one that wets the appetite and is the marquee fixture of the weekend.
Both sides have defied their pre-season expectations and find themselves with the very real chance of earning their way in to the Premier League next season with just 8 games to go. The battle at the top of the table has 5 points separating the top five and one thing is for sure Dean Court will play host to some of the best action that the Championship has to offer on Saturday.
Bournemouth trail Middlesbrough by 2 points going in to Saturdays clash and Eddie Howe has made no secret of his frustration behind Callum Wilson’s disallowed goal on Tuesday again Cardiff and aims to close the gap at the top with a victory (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/31942735).
Bournemouth boast an array of attacking talent and Howe will hope he can find the right combination with 4 of the top 20 goalscorers in the division coming from the team he has assembled.
Bournemouth’s record against Middlesbrough though is what can be only described as dismal having only managed 1 victory in 15 previous games between the two sides so a change to the history books is needed on Saturday.
Eddie Howe has a full squad of players to select from on Saturday as he now has Eunan O’Kane and Dan Gosling both back from thigh injuries but the biggest decision will be who partners Callum Wilson up front, Yann Kermogant or the in form Brett Pitman.
Middlesbrough come in to the game after arguably their best result of the season at Pride Park on Tuesday and totally proved their promotion credentials. Only 3 other sides have claimed a victory at Dean Court this season so Middlesbrough have an uphill battle on their hands but they know that the reward will be a 5 point gap back to their opposition come Saturday night.
The Derby result came after a period where they had lost three games out of five many people where questioning whether the light had burnt out on Middlesbrough’s promotion charge.
Karanka himself has described the situation in the Championship as ‘crazy’ and knows that they will have to build on the Derby result in the remaining 8 games to ensure a return to the Premier League for the first time since 2009.
Middlesbrough have to make a decision if Daniel Ayala is passed fit on whether to throw him back in to the team or stick with club captain Jonathan Woodgate. Ryan Fredricks remains the visitors only other absentee with a hamstring injury.
Saturday’s game pits the league’s top goal-scorers against the meanest defence so it will be an intriguing battle of wits between the opposing managers and these types of games are usually separated by a moment of magic or a terrible mistake.