Albion’s season comes to a close at Middlesbrough

Albion's loyal fans have turned out in great numbers this season (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood)
Albion's loyal fans have turned out in great numbers this season (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood)

Albion will be hoping to go out on a high in their dead-rubber game at Middlesbrough.

With the final fixtures of the 2014-15 Championship campaign, Albion will be hoping to go out on a high in their dead-rubber game at Middlesbrough.

Neither side have anything but pride to play for, with Albion’s hosts needing a win and a nigh-on impossible swing of 19 goals in their favour to stand any chance of finishing above Bournemouth in the second automatic promotion spot.

The game brings down the curtain on what has been a disappointing campaign at the Amex, in contrast with their top-six finishes in previous seasons.

Albion’s current run is indicative of the issues they’ve had throughout the campaign. Chris Hughton’s men are without a win since the end of March, having lost five of their last six matches in that time and scoring only once.

The Seagulls have conceded around the same number of goals this season as some sides fighting for spots in the play-offs. Scoring at the other end has been the problem over the past nine months, and finding a proven goalscorer will no doubt be a key area for Hughton’s summer recruitment.

The 56-year-old has already started to make decisions about his squad, with five players set to leave, and Inigo Calderon and Casper Ankergren having been offered new deals.

Among those who will be searching for a new club is record signing Craig Mackail-Smith, who is likely to make his final appearance in front of the travelling away support, who will no doubt give the 31-year-old a great send-off.

Hundreds of Albion fans are likely to make the 600-mile plus round trip, which says a lot for their commitment given how the season has gone. They’ve earned the right to expect at least a good fighting performance from their players on Teesside.