At the start of the season, Tony Pulis’ Boro were one of the pre-season favourites to return to the Premier League, with the Welshman bringing in proven talent from the Championship in Aden Flint and Jordan Hugill and even signing former Chelsea star John Obi Mikel in the winter window.
The season started off well as Boro sat at the summit of the Championship after 15 games. However, an inconsistent patch of form at the beginning of 2019 saw the Teesside club drop out of the automatic promotion picture, before falling out the play-offs entirely by April.
Now, with one week left in the season, Pulis will be relying on results elsewhere going his way, along with his team showing the defensive resilience his sides are known for if Middlesbrough want to reach the play-offs for the second season running.
Described by their manager, Lee Johnson, as a ‘Premier League club in training,’ Bristol City contended for promotion last season until their run to the Carabao Cup semi-finals had a detrimental impact on their play-off push.
Despite losing key players in Joe Bryan, Aden Flint and Bobby Reid last summer, the Robins have maintained their level of competitiveness. With 12 goals, Senegalese striker Famara Diedhiou is City’s top scorer at present while Andreas Weimann and former United Academy player, Josh Brownhill, have chipped in with strikes.
After winning their game in hand on Tuesday night at Millwall, there is a glimmer of hope that a play-off berth may be theirs as they sit in eighth, one point away from that coveted sixth place.