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FIVE THINGS PREVIEW: MIDDLESBROUGH

24 January 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Dean Hammond shows his delight as Albion win 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium in 2013.

Brighton & Hove Albion travel to the Riverside Stadium this weekend in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup to face Middlesbrough.

We've picked out five things to bear in mind ahead of the contest between the teams of Chris Hughton and Tony Pulis.

HOW DID WE GET HERE? 

Albion’s route to the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup came courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium.

Dale Stephens fired the home side into a first-half lead when his effort beat Wayne Hennessey from close range, before Bakary Sako’s equaliser came in the second half and drew the visitors back on level terms.

The contest was decided when Glenn Murray - formerly of the Eagles - bundled home at the far post in stoppage time to seal the fourth-round tie on Teesside. 

Middlesbrough enjoyed a 2-0 home success over Sunderland courtesy of first-half goals from Rudy Gestede and Martin Braithwaite.

CHANGES TO BE MADE? 

Chris Hughton made eight changes to his Seagulls side when they faced Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium earlier in the month. 

Dale Stephens – scorer of the opening goal on the night, Ezequiel Schelotto and Jose Izquierdo all retained their places in the team, but other than that trio the Albion boss made numerous changes for the third-round fixture.

Matthew Upson celebrates his late winning goal in the 2014/15 campaign

A GOOD RECORD AT THE RIVERSIDE

Albion have won two, drawn two and lost just once in the Football League at the Riverside Stadium.

The Seagulls were 2-0 victors in the latter half of the 2012/13 campaign when second-half goals from Spanish duo Andrea Orlandi and David Lopez sealed the win for the side as they moved up to fifth in the Championship.

The season after, a Matthew Upson header sealed a late 1-0 win on Teesside, before the two teams played out a 0-0 draw in the 2014/15 season and drew 1-1 on the final day of the 2015/16 campaign. 

A THREAT FROM SET-PIECES

Since Tony Pulis took charge of Middlesbrough at the end of 2017, Daniel Ayala has emerged as the team’s top goalscorer. 

The central defender has emphasised the side’s strength from dead-ball situations by netting three times since the former Stoke City manager took the reins at the Riverside Stadium. 

He scored twice in the 3-2 win over Preston North End on New Year’s Day and also netted in the 3-0 win away to Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road last weekend.

A CHANGED TRAORE

Adama Traore netted his first goal for the club in the 3-0 win over QPR at Loftus Road last weekend – and the celebrations of his team-mates in front of the travelling contingent spoke volumes about what the goal meant to the midfielder.

He caused Ian Holloway’s side no end of problems with his direct running and after the game Pulis was keen to single out the former Aston Villa man for praise in his man-of-the-match performance. 

He said: “Adama has got everything going for him and what he’s got to recognise is his strengths and keep playing to those – that’s all I want him to do.” 


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