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Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Nottingham Forest - prediction, team news, lineups

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

Nottingham Forest travel to the North East to face Middlesbrough on Saturday as they look to continue their unbeaten run under Chris Hughton.

Middlesbrough got their second home win of the season at home to Coventry City in midweek, while Forest battled valiantly to claim a point away to Luton Town having played for 60 minutes with 10 men.


Match preview

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

It took Boro 81 minutes on Tuesday night before they were able to pick the lock of Coventry's stubborn backline, as a defence-splitting pass from Sam Morsy put Britt Assombalonga through on goal to score his first of the season.

Boro then made certain of the three points when Djed Spence stole in to round the keeper and finish to help the Smoggies climb to within touching distance of the playoff places.

That is now three wins and four draws in the last seven for Boro and manager Neil Warnock will be pleased that his side are now starting to play the way he wishes them to - hard to break down and ruthless in front of goal.

Warnock will also be pleased that Assombalonga made it on to the scoresheet, as Boro's skipper will surely play a pivotal role in whether they can mount a serious promotion challenge. Assombalonga also becomes Middlesbrough's leading goalscorer of the millennium with 43 goals.

Boro will now look to secure back-to-back home wins and their first win against Forest since April 2018.

Nottingham Forest manager Chris Hughton pictured on October 20, 2020© Reuters

Forest continued their unbeaten run under Hughton in midweek but will feel aggrieved that they didn't come away with more than a point, having controversially gone down to 10 men just before half time.

Nicholas Ioannou was sent off for what was adjudged to be a dangerous foul on Martin Cranie shortly before half time, a decision that Hughton strongly opposed.

Despite their disadvantage, Forest levelled through a Glen Rea own goal, after the same player had put Luton ahead in the first half. It was Rea's first goals, at either end, in over two years.

Despite their upturn in form, Forest still sit in 20th place in the Championship table, and will be very aware of how hard it will be to drag themselves away from the relegation zone.

After the trip to Boro, Hughton and his men face two must-win games at home to fellow strugglers Coventry City and Wycombe Wanderers, before they travel to Barnsley and high-flying Bournemouth.

Middlesbrough Championship form: DWDWDW

Nottingham Forest Championship form: LLLWDDD


Team News

Chris Hughton pictured in charge of Nottingham Forest on October 17, 2020© Reuters

As a result of his dismissal on Wednesday night, Nicholas Ioannou will miss the trip to Boro and Hughton will likely call upon either Tyler Blackett or Yuri Ribeiro to deputise.

Aside from Ioannou's omission, Forest showed enough resolve against Luton to persuade Hughton to stick to the same lineup as they go in search of their first away win of the season.

Positive news arrived on Friday morning as Chuba Akpom tested negative for COVID-19, meaning that Warnock will need to decide whether the lively Patrick Roberts will once again partner Assombalonga, or if Akpom is preferred over the Manchester City loanee.

Dael Fry will be assessed after a nasty clash of heads had threatened to end the former England Under-21 star's night early in the second half in the win over the Sky Blues.

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

Nottingham Forest possible starting lineup:
Samba; Christie, McKenna, Figueiredo, Blackett; Yates, Colback; Knockaert, Lolley, Ameobi; Grabban


SM words green background

We say: Middlesbrough 2-1 Nottingham Forest

Warnock seems to be finding ways to transform draws into wins at present, and we see the Smoggies continuing their strong run against a Forest side that are yet to truly click under new management. This will be a closely contested matchup, but we expect Boro to come through with a narrow win.


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

ID:420207:cQx

Who will win the Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest?

Middlesbrough
Draw
Nottingham Forest
Middlesbrough
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Nottingham Forest
0.0%
0
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Boro boss Neil Warnock on September 11, 2020
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Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock "pleased with everything" in Coventry victory
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich138321710727
2Bournemouth1375121111026
3Bristol City137331611524
4Swansea CitySwansea13652158723
5Reading137242017323
6Middlesbrough12561125721
7Stoke CityStoke136342118321
8Brentford135531812620
9Watford125521410420
10Millwall134721210219
11Luton TownLuton135441113-219
12Blackburn RoversBlackburn1353525151018
13Queens Park RangersQPR134541518-317
14Barnsley134451414016
15Preston North EndPreston135171617-116
16Huddersfield TownHuddersfield134361517-215
17Birmingham CityBirmingham133641012-215
18Cardiff CityCardiff133551313014
19Rotherham UnitedRotherham133371216-412
20Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest13337916-712
21Coventry CityCoventry133371323-1012
22Wycombe WanderersWycombe13238619-139
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds13346712-57
24Derby CountyDerby13139520-156

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