Middlesbrough's defence to bag another clean-sheet
Middlesbrough head to already relegated Rotherham knowing that only a win will do in their bid to make the play-offs.
Is Pulis clueless?
Tony Pulis is a divisive manager, fact. Some fans like his approach and no-nonsense style while others think it is antiquated and not in keeping with the times.
There is a feeling that Boro should have done better this season given the squad at their disposal but it looks very much like they will just miss out. Much will depend on how Derby do in their mid-week game against Swansea but the fact remains that unless Middlesbrough beat Rotherham everything else becomes academic.
Pulis recruited the likes of Aden Flint, George Saville and Paddy McNair for sizeable sums in the summer but they have failed to engage as an attacking force throughout the season.
Their 47 goals scored is by far the lowest in the top half of the Championship and even their defensive record, which is second only to Sheffield United, can’t lift them into the top six.
Form coming too late
The good form that Pulis has put together over the last few games has come too late to be meaningful.
Four wins in the last five followed a run of six straight defeats and this inconsistency will ultimately cost Boro.
Their defensive record over the last five games is pretty good with the exception of the 3-0 defeat at Forest they have kept three clean sheets in the other four wins.
It’s now or never
With so much riding on the final game Boro have to expect their best players to turn up. This is easier said than bearing in mind the pressure that will be on Pulis’ men to perform.
Johny Howson has been their most creative player making 24 chances across the season while star striker, whose penalty against Reading could turn out to be crucial, will need to be sharp and add to the 12 league goals he has scored for Boro this season.
If Pulis can keep his side as relaxed as possible it could allow his key performers to do what they do best and that should be enough for Boro. They will just be hoping for a favour from Swansea and West Brom.
Rotherham - Middlesbrough betting tip
Rotherham are already down and Paul Warne won’t want their final home game of the season to fizzle out without a fight. Even though the Millers are always ready to fight they have often fallen short this season. With Middlesbrough having to win the game coupled with their formidable defensive record backing Boro to win to nil at odds of 11/4 is excellent value and should be snapped up.
You could even add under 2.5 goals to the mix if you are feeling extra adventurous.