MX23RW : Tuesday, July 16 09:21:33| >> :600:6382211:6382211:
May 5, 2019 at 12.30pm UK at ​AESSEAL New York Stadium (Rotherham, South Yorkshire)
Attendance: 11,051
RotherhamRotherham United
Smith (86' pen.)
FT(HT: 0-2)
Assombalonga (28' pen.), Obi Mikel (37')

Preview: Rotherham United vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Sunday's Championship game between Rotherham United and Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough take on Rotherham United at The New York Stadium knowing that only victory will do in order to maintain their hopes of reaching the Championship playoffs.

Rotherham have already been relegated to League One, but manager Paul Warne will want his players to put on a strong performance for the club's supporters.

Rotherham United

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne pictured on January 26, 2019© Reuters

Rotherham would have been confident of survival four weeks ago having put together a run of 14 points from 11 fixtures, but the Yorkshire outfit have not been able to find a solution in defence.

Fifteen games have gone by without a clean sheet in the Championship, and Rotherham have only conceded fewer than two goals in a match on two occasions since the beginning of March.

Those kind of statistics were never going to lead to a place being achieved outside of the bottom three, but Warne will be keen to take the positives having put together a squad who have been competitive at the second tier.

There have been some calls for Warne to be replaced in the dugout, but there is an argument that the club stalwart has not benefited from over-achieving on a limited budget earlier in the season.

Rotherham will already be looking ahead to what they need to do in order to earn an immediate return from League One, but there will be a desire to put on a strong display against one of the biggest clubs in the division.

There are a number of negative numbers associated with Rotherham right now, but the Yorkshire team have scored in all but one of their last 15 league fixtures.

That will count for little as the Millers count the cost ahead of another year at the third tier, but the foundations are already in place for Rotherham to bounce straight back from this season's disappointment.

As many as 15 different players have netted for Rotherham since the start of August, although no-one has managed more than seven strikes in the Championship.

Recent form: WLDLLL


Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis pictured on January 1, 2019© Reuters

There was a time not so long ago when Tony Pulis was on the brink of the sack at the Riverside Stadium, but the experienced boss has managed to find a solution during the closing weeks of the season.

Six successive defeats have been followed by a period of four victories from five outings, and it has kept Boro in with a chance of claiming sixth spot ahead of Derby County.

Pulis and Boro are still having to rely on West Bromwich Albion doing them a favour at Pride Park, but the North-East outfit may prefer to have the pressure placed firmly on the shoulders of their rivals.

The 3-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest on Easter Monday could prove to be key as far as goal difference is concerned, although it at least means that Boro are aware that only victory will do this weekend.

Pulis will still have concerns that his team are not scoring enough goals with just nine coming from a dozen fixtures, but three of their last four strikes have come from Britt Assombalonga.

The 26-year-old has not enjoyed his most productive campaign at the second tier, but there are signs that the forward is hitting form at the right time ahead of a possible appearance in the playoffs.

Whether a chance to earn a return to the Premier League materialises remains to be seen, but Boro are at least ending the campaign on a positive note when that initially appeared unlikely at the start of April.

That may not prove to be enough for Pulis to keep his job, but Boro may feel that they are in the best frame of mind to win the playoffs should results go their way on Sunday.

Recent form: LWWWLW

Team News

Dael Fry in action for England Under-21s on October 11, 2018© Reuters

Middlesbrough continue to have injury problems in defence, with Dael Fry, Daniel Ayala and George Friend all still on the sidelines.

However, Lewis Wing is back in contention after a hernia operation, and the playmaker may be provided with an immediate recall to the starting lineup.

Warne could decide to keep alterations to a minimum after his side made a good account of themselves against West Brom at The Hawthorns.

Jon Taylor could potentially be given the nod ahead of Anthony Forde and Isaac Vassell on the flank.

Rotherham United possible starting lineup:
Rodak; Jones, Robertson, Ihiekwe, Mattock; Newell, Vaulks, Ajayi, Taylor; Crooks, Smith

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Randolph; Shotton, Flint, McNair; Howson, Wing, Besic, Mikel, Saville; Assombalonga, Fletcher

Head To Head

Sunday's fixture will represent the 38th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Middlesbrough registering 19 wins in comparison to 10 victories for Rotherham.

There have been just five matches since 1995, and Middlesbrough have prevailed in three of those without conceding a goal.

However, Rotherham are unbeaten in the last two outings, and the Millers have also not let in a goal during those contests.

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We say: Rotherham United 1-2 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough are the form team heading into this fixture, but we do not expect them to have it all their own way. That said, Pulis and some of his squad are effectively playing for their futures at the club, and we are predicting a hard-fought win for the visitors.

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Who will win Sunday's Championship clash between Rotherham United and Middlesbrough?

Rotherham United
Rotherham United
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