MX23RW : Monday, September 20 15:14:02| >> :600:164362:164362:
Jan 11, 2020 at 3pm UK at Riverside Stadium
Attendance: 19,706
DerbyDerby County
Wing (16'), McNair (67' pen.)
FT(HT: 1-0)
Knight (54'), Holmes (91')

Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Derby County - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Derby County, including team news and predicted lineups.

Two teams in good form will lock horns in the Championship on Saturday afternoon with Middlesbrough welcoming Derby County to the Riverside Stadium.

Boro have won four of their last five matches in all competitions, while Derby will enter the contest off the back of three straight victories, including back-to-back successes in the league.

Match preview

Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate on December 7, 2019© Reuters

Four straight Championship wins have seen Boro fly up the table in recent weeks, with Jonathan Woodgate's side currently sitting in 16th spot, 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

Boro are actually only eight points off the playoffs, meanwhile, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the club could yet make a challenge for the top six due to their recent form.

Since losing 3-1 at Swansea City on November 14, Woodgate's team have beaten Stoke City, Huddersfield Town, West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End in the Championship, while they held Tottenham Hotspur to a 1-1 draw in the third round of the FA Cup last weekend.

It will be fascinating to see how the team perform in their next three considering that they will face Derby and Fulham in the league either side of the trip to Jose Mourinho's side for a replay.

Boro do appear to be heading in the right direction following a tough start to the season, but they have only won one of their last five Championship matches against Derby.

Derby boss Phillip Cocu on October 5, 2019© Reuters

Like Boro, Derby have not been without their problems this season, but the Rams appear to have turned a corner having won three and drawn one of their last four matches in all competitions.

Indeed, they have overcome Charlton Athletic and Barnsley in their last two Championship fixtures, in addition to recording an impressive 1-0 victory away to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last weekend.

Wayne Rooney made his debut for the Rams against Barnsley on January 2, while he also captained the Championship side in their win at Selhurst Park in the third round of the cup.

The 34-year-old's availability for Phillip Cocu's side is huge at this stage of the campaign, and it will be interesting to see just how much the former England captain can contribute in the coming months.

Derby sit 17th in the table heading into this weekend's matches, level on points with Boro. They now appear to be looking up the division rather than down, though, and a push for the playoffs cannot be ruled out.

Middlesbrough Championship form: DLWWWW
Middlesbrough form (all competitions): LWWWWD

Derby Championship form: DLLDWW
Derby form (all competitions): LLDWWW

Team News

Derby County's Chris Martin celebrates scoring their first goal with Wayne Rooney and teammates on January 5, 2020© Reuters

Boro still have a number of injury problems, with Daniel Ayala, Ryan Shotton, George Friend, Darren Randolph and Britt Assombalonga among those on the sidelines.

As a result, Paddy McNair is again expected to line up in a back three, while recent signing from Manchester City Patrick Roberts should make his Championship debut for the club having appeared against Tottenham.

Rudy Gestede could be the player to make way in the final third with Ashley Fletcher expected to start, while Adam Clayton and George Saville should continue in the middle of the park.

As for Derby, Ikechi Anya, Graeme Shinnie, Mason Bennett and George Evans are all still on the sidelines, but Tom Lawrence is available having served a suspension.

Chris Martin scored the only goal of the match against Palace, but Martyn Waghorn should return to the XI this weekend, while Duane Holmes should also be handed a spot in the side.

Rooney, as mentioned, is likely to skipper the side once again from the middle of the park.

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Pears; Howson, McNair, Fry; Spence, Clayton, Saville, Coulson; Roberts, Tavernier; Fletcher

Derby possible starting lineup:
Hamer; Bogle, Clarke, Davies, Lowe; Rooney, Knight; Marriott, Holmes, Lawrence; Waghorn

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We say: Middlesbrough 1-1 Derby County

Both teams will enter the match full of confidence following strong runs, and we are therefore finding it difficult to separate them. The two managers would probably accept a draw if it were offered ahead of kickoff and that is what we expect to happen at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

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Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate on December 7, 2019
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