Middlesbrough ended 2023 with a hard-fought victory on Friday night at the John Smith’s Stadium against relegation-threatened Huddersfield, with second-half goals from Josh Coburn and Jonny Howson – either side of a Michal Helik equaliser – securing a positive departure from the calendar year for Michael Carrick’s men.
Having won three of their last four matches in the Championship, Boro have clawed themselves to within striking distance of the top-six positions as the campaign heads into 2024, with sixth-placed Sunderland just three points better off than the Teesside club ahead of Monday’s fixtures.
Whilst the fixture schedule will begin to space out for most clubs in the second tier, Middlesbrough face a busy and crucial January,
with four league matches pencilled in, as well as an FA Cup tie with Unai Emery’s Aston Villa followed by a two-legged affair against Chelsea in the semi-finals of the EFL Cup.
Following the departure of last season’s leading marksman Chuba Akpom to Dutch giants Ajax in the summer transfer window, Carrick’s side have had to share the
goalscoring responsibility around the team this campaign, but summer arrival Emmanuel Latte Lath and Sam Greenwood lead the way with five strikes each.
Boro fans will have painful memories of the last time Coventry made the trip up to the Riverside Stadium, with now-Sheffield United midfielder Gustavo Hamer netting a 57th-minute winner for the Sky Blues, who were consequently able to book their place in June’s playoff final against Luton Town.
Coventry City were unable to make it three-straight wins in the Championship on Friday night as they were frustratingly held to a 2-2 draw against a Swansea side under the interim stewardship of Alan Sheehan, but the Sky
Blues’ unbeaten run did extend to an impressive six matches.Mark Robins’s side fell behind in the contest after just seven minutes when Liam Walsh netted for the managerless
Swans, and it looked as if strikes either side of half time from Haji Wright and Ellis Simms were going to be enough for maximum points, but substitute Josh Cullen stepped up and scored an added-time equaliser for the visitors.