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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship fixture between Middlesbrough and Reading, including predictions, teams news and possible lineups.

High-flying Reading visit Middlesbrough this Saturday afternoon as they look to extend their winning streak to five league games in a row.

Middlesbrough gained their first win of the season just before the international break, but are unbeaten in their last three having only experienced defeat on the opening weekend to Watford.


Match preview

Britt Assombalonga celebrates scoring for Middlesbrough with James Tavernier on July 22, 2020© Reuters

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock has this week refused to rule out a run at promotion but is all too aware of the tough fixtures that lie ahead in the coming weeks.

However, there could hardly be a better run of fixtures to indicate whether Boro have got what it takes to get up there among the challengers for top-six spots.

Reading provide the first challenge, followed by trips to table-toppers Bristol City and then Cardiff City, who will both offer robust interrogations of Middlesbrough's resolve and ability to grind out a result.

Boro are still busy recruiting ahead of the transfer deadline, and this week unveiled the return of Manchester City loanee Patrick Roberts. Rumours also suggest they could be looking to sign England full-back and out-of-favour Tottenham Hotspur man Danny Rose, with a loan deal looking most likely.

Veljko Paunovic pictured in March 2019© Reuters

Reading, on the other hand, will be buoyed by their start to the season and will come into this fixture brimming with confidence.

It has been the club's best start to a season in 35 years and they will be determined to continue this winning streak behind closed doors at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Royals have already seen off stern tests in the form of Watford, Cardiff City and Derby County, and will be hoping to add Middlesbrough to the list of promotion-hopefuls that they have overcome.

Looking ahead, Reading's Serbian manager Veljko Paunovic will have one eye on the seven games to come in the next 22 days, and will need to ensure his players stay as fresh as possible over this gruelling period.

Middlesbrough Championship form: LDDW
Middlesbrough form (all competitions): WLLDDW

Reading Championship form: WWWW
Reading form (all competitions): WWLWWW


Team News

Boro boss Neil Warnock on September 11, 2020© Reuters

Warnock will have to assess Northern Ireland internationals George Saville and Paddy McNair on their returns from a busy international period.

Patrick Roberts could be in line for a start, which would mean that young Marcus Tavernier could continue as a make-shift wingback.

Recent signing Grant Hall is expected to remain sidelined, while Warnock may look to shuffle his pack ahead of a relentless run of games.

Paunovic may welcome back striker Lucas Joao, who has made a speedy recovery from a shoulder injury.

The Serbian will also need to decide whether to bring Ovie Ejaria back into the side. The former Liverpool man missed the Watford win due to illness but has been back in training with the squad.

However, his replacement Sone Aluko produced an outstanding showing last time out, and will be eager to be given another start.

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

Reading possible starting lineup:
Rafael; Esteves, Moore, Morrison, Richards; Rinomhota, Laurent; Meite, Aluko, Olise; Joao


SM words green background

We say: Middlesbrough 1-2 Reading

Although Reading have proceeded to sweep teams aside so far this season, we expect this to be a close affair, with Middlesbrough more than capable of holding their own against the league leaders. We expect that one team will shade it, and it could well be that Reading's firepower sees them over the line.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals 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.Over 1.5:data

ID:418432:cQx

Who will win the Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Reading?

Middlesbrough
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Draw
0.0%
Reading
0.0%
0
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Northern Ireland manager Ian Baraclough pictured on September 7, 2020
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich158431914528
2Bournemouth157622516927
3Reading158342419527
4Bristol City158341915427
5Brentford157532213926
6Swansea CitySwansea157531710726
7Stoke CityStoke157442218425
8Blackburn RoversBlackburn1573529171224
9Watford146621811724
10Middlesbrough14662169724
11Luton TownLuton156451418-422
12Cardiff CityCardiff155552013720
13Millwall154831312120
14Barnsley155461717019
15Preston North EndPreston156182023-319
16Huddersfield TownHuddersfield155371822-418
17Queens Park RangersQPR154561722-517
18Birmingham CityBirmingham153751114-316
19Coventry CityCoventry153571525-1014
20Rotherham UnitedRotherham153481420-613
21Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest15348917-813
22Wycombe WanderersWycombe15249721-1410
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds15366813-59
24Derby CountyDerby15159722-158

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