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Preview: Hull City vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Championship game between Hull City and Middlesbrough, including team news and predicted lineups.

Hull City play host to Middlesbrough at the KCOM Stadium on Thursday evening with just two points separating the clubs towards the bottom of the Championship standings.

While Hull ended a prolonged losing streak with a draw at Birmingham City on Saturday, Neil Warnock began his Middlesbrough reign with a 2-0 triumph at Stoke City.

Match preview

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured on June 27, 2020© Reuters

Despite Middlesbrough being thoroughly outclassed by Swansea City in their first game back in action, there was a perception that Jonathan Woodgate may have deserved more time to get a reaction out of his players.

However, given the importance of remaining at the second tier, Boro opted to make the change, and it had its desired effect with success coming against relegation rivals Stoke.

With Boro just two points above the drop zone, Warnock will stress to his new group of players that there is much work ahead if the club are to avoid relegation.

Nevertheless, the three points at the bet365 Stadium has provided the North-East side with the springboard which they desperately required at this stage of the season.

Warnock will hope that forward Ashley Fletcher can build on his goal against the Potters having previously gone five matches without finding the back of the net.

As far as Hull are concerned, Grant McCann will have mixed feelings after witnessing his team end their five-game run of defeats in the Championship.

Although the point at St Andrew's could prove to be decisive come the end of the season, McCann will be frustrated after his players let slip advantages of 2-0 and 3-2 respectively.

The capitulation means that Hull have now failed to win in the Championship since New Year's Day, a period stretching back as many as 13 matches.

With a run-in against promotion contenders and in-form sides to come, McCann knows that Hull are under significant pressure to finally get back on track on Thursday night.

Hull City Championship form: LLLLLD

Middlesbrough Championship form: LLDWLW

Team News

Grant McCann in charge of Hull City on August 3, 2019© Reuters

With his side having performed well for much of their contest with Birmingham, McCann must decide whether to stick with the same starting lineup.

Kevin Stewart and Tom Eaves are options for McCann if he opts to freshen up his side in midfield and on the flank.

After his instant contribution at the weekend, Middlesbrough playmaker Marcus Tavernier should be handed a recall, potentially in place of Britt Assombalonga.

Lewis Wing could also be preferred to George Saville in the centre of the pitch.

Hull City possible starting lineup:
Long; Pennington, Wijs, Burke, Elder; Wilks, Batty, Kane, Scott; Lopes; Magennis

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Stojanovic; Spence, Fry, Friend, Johnson; Wing, Howsom, McNair; Roberts, Fletcher, Tavernier

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We say: Hull City 0-2 Middlesbrough

With the 'Warnock effect' currently taking place at Boro, we can only back the visitors to come out on top on Thursday evening. While it may not turn out to be the most entertaining of tussles, Boro should have enough to run out comfortable winners.

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Leeds United's players celebrate Tyler Roberts' goal against Hull City on February 29, 2020
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