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Preview: Barnsley vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Barnsley and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barnsley will be looking to tighten their grip on a playoff spot in Saturday's home clash with Middlesbrough, whose own top-six hopes are fast fading.

The Tykes returned to winning ways last time out to climb into fifth, while Boro are nine points off the playoffs following a three-game winless streak.

Match preview

Barnsley's Daryl Dike celebrates scoring their first goal against Luton Town in the Championship on April 5, 2021© Reuters

After losing 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday and drawing 1-1 with Reading at home either side of the two-week break, Barnsley beat Luton Town 2-1 on Tuesday to pick up a welcome win - a record sixth in a row away from home.

Daryl Dike maintained his superb form since joining on loan from Orlando City in January with a goals in both halves, making it seven goals in 13 outings for the American forward.

That win maintained Barnsley's two-point lead on Reading in sixth and a three-point advantage on seventh-placed Bournemouth, who have a game in hand to play.

Barnsley cannot afford to slip up this weekend, then, particularly given that victory for Boro would revive their own top-six hopes.

Middlesbrough's Marcus Tavernier celebrates scoring their second goal against Preston North End in the Championship on March 16, 2021© Reuters

Neil Warnock's men have stuttered of late, taking just one point from the last nine on offer - defeats to Millwall and Bournemouth followed by a 1-1 draw against Watford.

Promotion expert Warnock has effectively ruled out a place in the playoffs, but his side could be within six points of sixth place should results go their way this weekend.

Monday's 1-1 draw with high-flying Watford has to be considered a good result for Boro, with a rare Yannick Bolasie goal cancelling out Ismaila Sarr's opener at the Riverside.

This is the toughest of the Smoggies' remaining fixtures, and Warnock knows better than any manager in the division just how important momentum can be at this stage of the season.

However, Boro have lost each of their last three away league games and have lost five of their last seven away league meetings with Barnsley.

Barnsley Championship form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

Middlesbrough Championship form:
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D

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Team News

Middlesbrough's Marc Bola celebrates scoring their second goal against Reading on February 20, 2021© Reuters

Dyke has scored four goals in his last four appearances for Barnsley, netting braces at both Wycombe Wanderers and Luton, and is certain to lead the line here.

Valerien Ismael has the option of rotating his attack slightly, though, with Carlton Morris in contention to replace Victor Adeboyejo, who is without a goal since mid-December.

Liam Kitching, Herbie Kane and Ben Williams are the home side's confirmed absentees for this contest.

As for Middlesbrough, Sam Morsy has joined Dael Fry, Marcus Browne, Marcus Tavernier and Anfernee Dijksteel on the sidelines after damaging ligaments against Watford.

Bolasie replaced Morsy in that match and took his opportunity with a late leveller, meaning that he is likely to get the nod out on the left here.

Warnock has never been entirely happy with his striker options this term, but Duncan Watmore may again get the nod over Ashley Fletcher up top on Saturday.

Barnsley possible starting lineup:
Collins; Andersen, Helik, Sibbick; Brittain, Palmer, Mowatt, Styles; Morris, Dike, Woodrow

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Fisher, McNair, Hall, Bola; Howson, Saville; Spence, Kebano, Bolasie; Watmore

SM words green background

We say: Barnsley 2-1 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough won October's reverse fixture 2-1 and are seeking a first league double over Barnsley since the 2011-12 campaign.

The hosts are a completely different side six months on, though, even if they have been shaky at Oakwell of late, and we can see them picking up all three points here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data

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Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured in February 2021
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