The first leg of the Championship playoffs will see Brentford host Middlesbrough on Friday night at Griffen Park. While Brentford are the fairytale team that all neutrals will want to see promoted, they are also the form team coming into these playoffs. Brentford have shown remarkable resiliance this season especially in the last few weeks, twice they came from 2-0 down to draw games 2-2 and without those points they would not be in the playoffs. Although manager Mark Warburton will not be with Brentford next season he hopes to lead the small club to its second promotion in 18 months and to the the promised land of the Premier League. Warburton is stepping down as manager due to a disagreement on how the club should be run with owner Matthew Benham. Warburton has done a remarkable job brought in some great players and got the best out of his squad who are on the verge of the top flight for the first time in sixty odd years. With Pritchard an Gray up front Brentford have a pair of goalscorers who can both find the net and provide assists.
Brentfords opponents on Friday though Middlesbrough are one of the big clubs in the North relegated in recent years and struggling to get back to the Premier League. Boro have done well this season but come into the playoffs with erratic form as they have lost three of their last eight. With on loan striker Patrick Bamford not 100% Boro will be hoping the Chelsea starlet can shake off his ankle woes and be at his best on Friday night. Boro have alot of ex premier league players in their ranks and captain Leadbitter will be hoping to lead the team through this semi final and into the playoff final in Wembley against either Ipswich or Norwich.
Both of the league games this season were won by Boro and therefore they will carry some confidence into this game knwoing that they have won against Brentford twice this season. But Brentford come into this game on the back of winning two must win games and knowing that their resolve has always come through when tested this year. I think this should be a really good game to watch and there will be lots of tension. I am after looking a little deeper in the markets here and I found one I really like. Brentford to win and there to be over 2.5 goals is available at 7/2 and that looks a steal to me. I like Brentford to win this game outright but I also think Boro will get on the scoresheet. So obviously the 7/2 here looks outstanding value to me and that is where I will be.