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Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Blackburn Rovers - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Middlesbrough have a chance to strengthen their Championship promotion prospects when they take on Blackburn Rovers at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Neil Warnock's side have been in good form and are just three points behind sixth-placed Bournemouth, who are not in action this weekend due to FA Cup commitments.

Blackburn will feel that they are also in promotion contention, though they are six points behind Boro after a run of one win in five league outings.

Match preview

Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga celebrates scoring against Nottingham Forest in the Championship on January 20, 2021© Reuters

Nobody knows what it takes to escape a division quite like Warnock, who is on course for a record-extending ninth promotion this season.

Boro have won five of their last seven league games since mid-December, a run that has kept them within touching distance of the top six.

The most recent of those victories came away at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday thanks to strikes from Britt Assombalonga and George Saville.

Warnock's men tasted defeat in their last home game, though, as they went down 1-0 to Birmingham City - the first time they had dropped points in five outings at the Riverside.

Incredibly, Middlesbrough have failed to win a home league match in January since a 2-0 victory over Derby County in 2016, going 10 such games without a win since then (D6 L4).

Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Blackburn will be hoping to prolong that winless run as they seek consecutive away league wins for the first time since April 2019.

Tony Mowbray's charges were 2-0 winners at Birmingham in their most recent away match, but they were unable to build on that and drew 1-1 with Stoke City at home last time out.

John Buckley cancelled out Nick Powell's opener, but Rovers could not find a late winner despite Stoke having James Chester dismissed.

Blackburn have not been in action since that match on January 16 as their midweek clash against Swansea City was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Middlesbrough Championship form: WWLWLW
Middlesbrough form (all competitions): WLWLLW

Blackburn Rovers Championship form: WLDLWD
Blackburn Rovers form (all competitions): LDLWLD

Team News

Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga celebrates scoring their first goal on August 20, 2019© Reuters

Middlesbrough will be without Grant Hall, Ashley Fletcher and Marcus Browne for Sunday's match.

Marvin Johnson was introduced as a second-half substitute against Forest and may get the nod out wide here, likely at the expense of Duncan Watmore.

Assombalonga's strike against former side Forest was his fifth goal in 22 Championship matches this term, and he is set to lead the line for the home team once again.

As for Blackburn, they could be without as many as six players through injury, including the likes of Sam Gallagher and Daniel Ayala.

Rovers may have had eight days' rest between matches, a luxury not afforded to Boro, but one or two changes are possible, with Ben Brereton among those pushing for a recall.

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Dijksteel, McNair, Fry, Bola; Howson, Saville, Morsy; Tavernier, Assombalonga, Johnson

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Kaminski; Nyambe, Lenihan, Branthwaite, Douglas; Travis, Rothwell; Elliott, Dack, Brereton; Armstrong

SM words green background

We say: Middlesbrough 1-1 Blackburn Rovers

Seven of the last 10 league meetings between Middlesbrough and Blackburn have ended as a draw, including the reverse fixture earlier this campaign.

In fact, the last five league encounters between these sides at the Riverside have ended all square, so we can only see this contest ending one way.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away 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/Away:data


How you voted: Middlesbrough vs Blackburn

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Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in December 2020
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