David Prutton predicts 'very tight affair' ahead of Middlesbrough clash vs struggling Derby County

Neil Warnock, Manager of Middlesborough. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)Neil Warnock, Manager of Middlesborough. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
Neil Warnock, Manager of Middlesborough. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)
David Prutton has backed Middlesbrough to bounce back from their disappointing defeat to Norwich City last Saturday with a midweek win over struggling Derby County.

Neil Warnock’s men slumped to a 1-0 loss against the Canaries over the weekend in a clash that was ultimately a tale of two penalties.

Marcus Tavernier had his effort from 12 yards ruled out in a bizarre incident that saw him slip and strike the ball with both feet on its way into the back of the net.

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Norwich striker Teemu Pukki then stepped up with a little under 20 minutes left on the clock to coolly convert a penalty at the other end.

The result left Boro in eighth, four points adrift of the play-off places.

For their part, Derby have endured a torrid time this season, and are currently bottom of the table, with six points from their opening 12 matches.

A group of four interim managers, fronted by Wayne Rooney, have taken over at Pride Park following the recent departure of Phillip Cocu, but the quartet have been unable to stop the rot thus far, with the Rams suffering a 1-0 defeat to Bristol City on Saturday.

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And Prutton believes that Middlesbrough can capitalise on their visitors’ dire form of late to come away with all three points at the Riverside on Wednesday evening.

Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “Boro once again highlighted just how defensively sound they are against Norwich, despite going down to a late Teemu Pukki penalty.

"It was a goal that prevented Neil Warnock's side keeping a fifth successive clean sheet, though conceding one in five games is pretty good going.

“Phillip Cocu may have left Pride Park over the international break yet Derby are still in freefall. The Rams haven't won a game since October 3 and are rooted to the bottom of the table.

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"The fact Middlesbrough rarely concede goals, coupled with the fact Derby can't score at the moment, points to this being a very tight affair and one I think the hosts will edge.”

Prutton has forecast a 1-0 win for Middlesbrough when the two sides meet.