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Preview: Middlesbrough vs. Rotherham United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Championship clash between Middlesbrough and Rotherham United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Middlesbrough play host to Rotherham United on Tuesday evening looking for the win which would take them level on points with sixth-placed Bournemouth.

Rotherham make the trip to the Riverside Stadium sitting in the Championship zone, five points adrift of safety with three matches in hand.


Match preview

Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock pictured on January 16, 2021© Reuters

Neil Warnock understandably cut a frustrated figure after watching his Middlesbrough side lose 1-0 at home to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, their second successive defeat on home territory.

While Boro have still only lost three times in 12 matches at the Riverside Stadium this season, the setbacks against Birmingham City and Blackburn have left the club playing catch-up in the race for promotion.

With the top five all claiming at least seven points from their most recent three fixtures, Middlesbrough are effectively left trying to take advantage of Bournemouth's sudden drop in form.

On a positive note, the North-East outfit are still performing consistently in defence, putting the onus on the forward players to start delivering on a regular basis.

Even though Britt Assombalonga and Duncan Watmore top the scoring charts with five goals apiece, Warnock needs more players to contribute if Boro are going to contend for a return to the top flight.

Rotherham endured a frustrating Christmas and New Year period as they were limited to just one fixture in three weeks, which saw them lose 2-1 to Yorkshire rivals Barnsley.

Nevertheless, the Millers have looked refreshed since returning to Championship action, claiming four points from meetings with Derby County and Stoke City.

Despite being five points adrift of safety, Rotherham boss Paul Warne will feel that his players are performing well enough to take advantage of their three games in hand.

With 10 matches in total to be played before the end of February, however, Warne is aware that his side can ill-afford to lose the momentum generated from their recent results.

Middlesbrough Championship form: WLWLWL
Middlesbrough form (all competitions): LWLLWL

Rotherham United Championship form: LWLLWD
Rotherham United form (all competitions): WLLLWD


Team News

Rotherham United manager Paul Warne pictured on January 16, 2021© Reuters

Nathan Wood is expected to take the place of Dael Fry, who sustained a head injury against Blackburn at the weekend.

Warnock could also hand a recall to Marvin Johnson, while Ashley Fletcher is in contention again after returning from an injury layoff.

Having had a week to prepare for this game, Rotherham boss Warne may opt to name the same team which started versus Stoke.

Freddie Ladapo is likely to remain on the substitutes' bench after Matt Crooks and Michael Smith combined to net the three goals against the Potters.

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

Rotherham United possible starting lineup:
Blackman; Ihiekwe, Wood, MacDonald; Olosunde, Lindsay, Barlaser, Wiles, Harding; Crooks; Smith


SM words green background

We say: Middlesbrough 2-1 Rotherham United

After their disappointing defeat at the weekend, Warnock will do everything in his power to get a reaction on Wednesday. With that in mind, we expect Boro to battle their way to a hard-fought victory over opponents who will be equally motivated to get out of their own predicament.


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


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Boro boss Neil Warnock on September 11, 2020
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich41279565283790
2Watford412410759273282
3Swansea CitySwansea412291050311975
4Brentford402013771403173
5Bournemouth4120111066402671
6Barnsley412181254441071
7Reading4219101357461167
8Cardiff CityCardiff4216121458461260
9Millwall411416114140158
10Middlesbrough41169164845357
11Queens Park RangersQPR411511154850-256
12Stoke CityStoke411413144546-155
13Luton TownLuton40158173546-1153
14Blackburn RoversBlackburn421311185448650
15Bristol City41155214055-1550
16Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest411213163439-549
17Preston North EndPreston41146214155-1448
18Coventry CityCoventry411112183756-1945
19Birmingham CityBirmingham411112183150-1945
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield411111194362-1944
21Derby CountyDerby421110213148-1743
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham39116224153-1239
23Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds41118223454-2035
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe4189243064-3433

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