Second placed Brighton host league leaders Middlesbrough in what promises to be a high stakes top of the table encounter in the lunchtime kickoff at Amex stadium.
Brighton are looking to regain the top spot in the Championship after being overtaken by Middlesbrough in midweek.
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Its getting very tight at the top with both these sides in with a genuine chance of automatic promotion with Brighton and Middlesbrough fighting it out at the summit of the division.
Brighton are narrow favorites to win but have only been put slightly ahead of Middlesbrough according to the bookies.
The two teams are level on points with 43 each but Middlesbrough have a superior goal difference of 18.
This is 7 better than Brighton’s goal difference which currently stands at 11.
Both Derby and Hull are threatening the top two teams, currently sitting in third and fourth place respectively, with 41 points each.
Fifth and sixth placed Derby and Ipswich are on less points and are both incapable of overtaking the leading two teams this weekend.
The pressure from third and fourth position add extra pressure to what already promises to be a spicy encounter.
Both teams are undefeated in their last five championship games.
The visitors have put together an impressive string of wins including victories over strong teams including Burnley, Ipswich and QPR. Their away form has been particularly strong including 2-0 victories over Ipswich and Huddersfield.
This gives Middlesbrough confidence of cementing their place at the top of the table by securing the away victory.
Although Brighton have recorded a string of home wins, including those against Birmingham, Charlton and the MK Dons, the visitors have scored in each of these matches and the victories have been narrow, with only a one goal margin in each.
Middlesbrough will prove a tougher test as they have the second best goal difference in the league, only one behind Derby.
This includes the Teesider’s unparalleled goals conceded record so far.
Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has recently praised 37 year old goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos for his contribution to the team’s impressive defensive record.
Karanka will be looking to the shot stopper to thwart attempts from the home side, particularly from on loan Manchester United forward James Wilson.
Brighton will have to deal with a number of unavailable players including Roseniot and Bong who are both out due to thigh concerns. Lewis Dunk is unavailable following suspension due to his two yellow cards earlier in the week against QPR.
Middlesbrough have no new injuries or suspensions to contend with but promise to continue their policy of rotation.
All in all, the fixture promises to be a thrilling encounter which sets the tone for the top of the table heading into the festive period.
Despite Brighton being narrowly favoured, an away win is very possible. It promises to be an exciting, unpredictable encounter.