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Having won eight of their last 11 Championship matches, you would have expected Middlesbrough to hold more than a two-point cushion inside the playoffs.
Nevertheless, it highlights the magnitude of the job that Chris Wilder is pulling off at the Riverside Stadium, and there is every sign that will continue in their bid for promotion.
For the first time since April, Boro scored more than two goals in a league fixture last weekend as they posted a 4-1 victory against Derby County.
Brighton & Hove Albion loanee Aaron Connolly was among the goalscorers as Boro recorded a sixth successive win in the North-East, taking them to 32 points from 16 home fixtures this campaign.
All things considered, Middlesbrough have a relatively favourable schedule ahead of them, but Wilder is aware that complacency cannot become an issue if they want to return to the Premier League
Conceding three times in South Wales made it 28 goals shipped in just 11 league games, and Bristol City are now only two goals short from having the worst defensive record in the division.
At a time when his side play three promotion contenders in succession, Nigel Pearson knows that he can ill-afford more defeats if he is to be kept at the helm for 2022-23.
On a positive note, Andreas Weimann has now reached 15 goals in the Championship this season, a total which is complemented with six assists.
Middlesbrough midfielder Matt Crooks will be assessed after sustaining a head injury which forced his withdrawal against Derby.
Riley McGree could be drafted into the side for his first Boro start, while Wilder has decisions to make over his forward line.
Connolly and Folarin Balogun impressed in the absence of Andraz Sporar and Duncan Watmore, and only two of the four will start this contest.
David Bentley may start ahead of Bristol City’s first-choice goalkeeper Max O’Leary, who was withdrawn during the second half of the Swansea game through injury.
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Joe Williams is pushing for an opportunity in midfield, but George Tanner, Matty James and Andy King are likely to remain sidelined.
Bristol City possible starting lineup:
Bentley; Vyner, Kalas, Klose; Dasilva, Massengo, Williams, Pring; Weimann; Semenyo, Martin
Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley; Dijksteel, Fry, McNair; Jones, McGree, Howson, Tavernier, Taylor; Sporar, Connolly