AFC Bournemouth vs Middlesbrough preview: How to watch,
kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Middlesbrough vs AFC Bournemouth December 18, 2021. (Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Second-placed AFC Bournemouth will be seeking a victory to ensure they gain automatic promotion back to the Premier League following last season’s play-off misery.

Middlesbrough, on the other hand, will be aiming to reach the play-offs for the first time since the 2017-18 season, which saw them bow out to Aston Villa in the semi-final.

  • Team news

Jordan Zemura joins Kieffer Moore and Junior Stanislas on the list of players unavailable for the Cherries after picking up a hamstring injury against Sheffield United.

Dael Fry will miss the match with a calf problem after limping off against Hull City, with Neil Taylor also a doubt. Chris Wilder will have Isiah Jones available for selection again after he recovering from illness which saw him miss the Fulham and Hull defeats.

  • Predicted lineups

Bournemouth (4-3-3)

Travers, Brady, Kelly, Phillips, Smith, Lerma, Cook, Billing, Anthony, Solanke, Christie

Middlesbrough (3-4-1-2)

Lumley, Mcnair, Bamba, Dijksteel, Bola, Howson, Crooks, Tavernier, McGree, Connolly, Balogun

  • Form guide

Bournemouth – DWWLD

A 0-0 draw with Sheffield United last time out for the Cherries has seen third-placed Huddersfield Town move just four points behind them. However, Scott Parker’s side have two games in hand to extend their lead.

Middlesbrough – DWWLL

Narrow 1-0 defeats to Fulham and Hull in their last two games has put a hold on Boro’s play-off push. Wilder’s side currently sit in eighth-place just three points behind fifth-placed Luton Town, with a game in hand. A victory against Bournemouth could see Boro move into the play-offs, but that all depends on goal difference.

  • Ones to watch

Dominic Solanke

Dominic Solanke is an ever-present threat as the forward has scored 24 times for the Cherries so far this season. Having recently been nominated for the Sky Bet Championship player of the season award, the striker will be full of confidence going into the clash with Boro. Despite not scoring in his last two outings, the attacker will be looking to put an end to the mini drought on Friday.

Matt Crooks

Enjoying a successful first season for Boro, Matt Crooks has been a consistent performer throughout. Having joined from Rotherham United back in July 2021, Crooks has 37 league appearances this season whilst scoring eight goals. Averaging a 7.15 rating from midfield shows just how pivotal Crooks has been this season in Boro's play-off push.

  • Previous meetings

Bournemouth lost the last meeting as the Cherries fell to a 1-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium in the reverse fixture on December 18, 2021. Prior to the defeat, Bournemouth had enjoyed a four-game unbeaten run against Boro, winning three and drawing one.

  • How to watch

The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Football. Coverage will start at 14:30 BST with kick-off scheduled for 15:00 BST. Highlights will be available on Quest at 21:00 BST and the following day via social media.

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