First of all, congratulations to Reading who reached the Semi Finals of the FA Cup for the first time for almost a century following an emphatic 3-0 victory over Bradford on Monday evening.
Returning to the bread and butter, Waford took over at the top of the table for the first time since the start of November following a 2-0 away win at Wigan. Another Patrick Bamford goal helped Middlesbrough win at Derby, a result that means the Rams have now gone five games without a win and are now five points off the title pace. Bournemouth failed to close their game at Cardiff but could go back to the summit this weekend.
Wigan’s home defeat means that the Latics are now six points from safety; Millwall earned a point against Brighton but the bottom three is beginning to look done and dusted.
The game of the week is the no brainer between Bournemouth and Middlesbrough (Sky Sports 1, 12:00pm) but spare a thought for the travelling Boro supporters, who had to make the first leg of a 650 mile round trip in order to arrive on south coast for a 12:15 kick off because Sky Sports decided to televise the game.
The Cherries have lost only once at Dean Court in their last fifteen games in the Championship but three consecutive home draws in February has hampered their progress in the race to the Premier League and the recent goalless draw against Blackburn was the first time they’d not scored in front of their own fans this season.
Tuesday night’s victory at the Pride Park was Middlesbrough’s first away win in five games and couldn’t really have come at a better time. They’ve yet to play at both Watford and Norwich, but with three of their remaining four home games against teams in the bottom six their away form is vital if they’re going to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2008/09.
If past performance is anything to go by, this is a game that Bournemouth shouldn’t lose: Middlesbrough’s only victory at Dean Court came in a League Cup tie in October 1991 and tomorrow’s visitors have never won there in the league. However, four of the five meetings have been drawn, an outcome that would mean that Watford’s game against Ipswich a couple of hours later becomes incredibly important for the Hornets. If the current leaders win after a draw on the south coast, they’ll have put some breathing space between themselves and their rivals before the international break.
It’s looking increasingly likely that I’l not be able to cover the entire Easter weekend, so the revised plan is that I’ll be back at some point during the week following Easter Monday with a recap. I’ll catch you then.