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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship fixture between Brentford and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and lineups.

Saturday sees Middlesbrough travel to Brentford as two of the Championship's form teams meet at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Brentford come into this fixture having managed to salvage a 1-1 draw with fellow promotion hopefuls Swansea City, after a late Andre Ayew goal was ruled out in the dying seconds of the game.

Boro extended their unbeaten run to nine games - currently the longest undefeated run in England - with a 0-0 draw against Blackburn Rovers, a matchup in which they will feel aggrieved to have only taken a single point having dominated proceedings for long periods.


Match preview

Brentford's Ivan Toney celebrates with teammates after scoring against Norwich City in the Championship on October 27, 2020© Reuters

Ivan Toney's 10th goal of the campaign put Brentford in front on Tuesday night, but the Swans were much the better side and will feel they deserved the win.

Ayew was again on target for the Welsh club and was a thorn in Brentford's side right up until the closing moments when his would-be winner was denied.

Brentford, who have two draws, two wins, and a loss in their last five, will know they will need an improved performance on Saturday if they are to trouble Middlesbrough, but with the league's top scorer in their ranks, they will feel confident.

The Bees have scored almost double the amount of goals that Boro have so far his season. Still, they can only boast seven more shots on target (39 compared to 32), suggesting that Toney's ruthlessness in front of goal is something that the Smoggies are missing.

Brentford will also feel that they have history on their side as this fixture has been kind over the years - the Bees have only lost once in their last six meetings, coming out on top in the last three.

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured on November 3, 2020© Reuters

Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough side come into this fixture with the joint-best defensive record in the league, only matched by Watford, but it will be their goalscoring ability that will worry Warnock.

After Tuesday night's game, Warnock said his side lacked the quality they needed to make all of their possession and chances tell as they spurned 20 shots on goal, the most they have managed in any game so far this season.

Boro, who have only conceded 21 shots on their goal in 10 matches so far this season, will know that if they can find some form at the other end of the pitch, they will start to look more like the finished article.

Since being narrowly edged out at Watford on the opening day, Boro have played three of the teams currently in the top six, winning one and drawing two, which bodes well for when the kinder fixtures arrive.

The Smoggies sit two points adrift of second place and now travel to Brentford unbeaten in their last four away games.

Brentford Championship form: WWLDWD

Middlesbrough Championship form: DWDWWD


Team News

Middlesbrough's Sam Morsy in action with Coventry City's Ben Sheaf on October 27, 2020© Reuters

At Blackburn, there was no Sam Morsy for Boro due to a hamstring injury, and that added extra responsibility for his midfield counterpart, George Saville.

It remains to be seen whether Morsy will be risked at Brentford, with the likelihood being that he will be given the international break to fully recover.

After reported muscle fatigue, Patrick Roberts was again missing from the starting lineup on Tuesday but could be drafted in to help conjure some attacking spark.

Chuba Akpom is also vying for a starting spot, and could lead the line should Britt Assombalonga be rested after playing three games inside a week.

As for Brentford, midfielder Shandon Baptiste last week confirmed that he faces a lengthy spell out with a knee problem.

Boss Thomas Frank recently announced that Pontus Jansson would be unavailable for "weeks rather than months" but that Baptiste was set to be out for longer after a recent setback.

Aside from Jansson and Baptiste, Frank comes into this fixture with no new injury concerns.

Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Dalsgaard, Pinnock, Sorensen, Henry; Dasilva, Janelt, Marcondes; Mbuemo, Toney, Canos

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Dijksteel, Fry, McNair; Bola, Howson, Saville, Tavernier, Spence; Roberts, Akpom


SM words green background

We say: Brentford 1-1 Middlesbrough

Both sides will be relishing the chance to get another win under their belts before they head into the international break, and much hinges on how well Boro's disciplined backline copes with Ivan Toney et al. If they can keep it tight, we expect Boro to come away with at least a point.

Brentford have been free-scoring this season, but have a tendency to offer chances up the other end, too. It is just a question of whether Boro can take them.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win 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 Win:data

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Boro boss Neil Warnock on September 11, 2020
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ChinaChina1891138
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Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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