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Match Preview: Middlesbrough FC vs Wigan Athletic

After couple of weeks of international football, the domestic calendar now resumes and Wigan have two tough fixtures. First up is a trip to the North East to play Middlesbrough.

Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Since the appointment of Aitor Karanka Middlesbrough FC have been looking up and up. Now they are on the cusp of getting back to the Premier League where they have been absent since 2009. That could all be about to change as they sit third in the league, one point of the leaders Bournemouth.

What can we expect to face today? A well drilled side who have a lot of attacking potential going forward. They have the best defensive record in the league having conceded only 30 goals this season. We go to the riverside needing to win and with our lack of striking ability this isn't going to be a game we are going to win unless we are on top form.

Maybe we can hit that gear?

The goal by Martyn Waghorn against Bolton Wanderers, has to make Malcky Mackay sit up and realise that we have a striker on out bench, who given e chance, will score goals! It is clear that Marc Antoine Fortune and Leon Clarke aren't going to get the goals that we need playing up front together, whilst James McClean is a winger. The Republic of Ireland international returns after a two match suspension for today's game.

Hopefully be nice that the winger to burst back refreshed to be in the side and really give us a focal point.

Middlesbrough though have that main man who will lead them today. The on loan Chelsea striker Patrick Bamford who has bagged 13 goals this season. We faced against the striker last season as he played for MK Dons and he got a goal against us, and in the reverse fixture this year Bamford scored Middlesbrough's equalizing goal.

A striker with a good track record against us, and he will surely be looking to add to that tally today.

Yet our new defensive combination of Harry Maguire and Jason Pearce is now finally starting to become settled. Apart from the 3-0 defeat to Bournemouth, they have managed to keep us in many games longer than maybe we should have been. Against Rotherham United the two were in inspired formed.

Seven games to go, and a five point gap to make up. There is still all to play for in the fight for survival, yet we are going to have to beat the teams who are fighting at the top of the table. That could be a task one too far for this team, hopefully I am wrong.