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

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Championship fixture between Millwall and Middlesbrough, including team news and predicted lineups.

Millwall play host to Middlesbrough on Wednesday realistically needing all three points to retain hope of earning a spot in the Championship playoffs.

Meanwhile, after back-to-back defeats, Middlesbrough travel to The Den sitting in the relegation zone with just five matches remaining.

Match preview

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

When Middlesbrough comfortably defeated Stoke City at the end of June, many would have felt that Neil Warnock's instant effect at the North-East outfit would have been long-lasting.

However, defeats to Hull City and Queens Park Rangers, game in which they were regarded as the favourites, have led to Boro dropping back down into the bottom three.

Although they play before some of their nearest rivals on Wednesday, Warnock knows that another negative result could leave Boro cut adrift if other scorelines do not go their way over the coming days.

The veteran boss has spoken highly of his side's recent commitment, but they will not survive in the second tier unless they improve significantly in the final third.

Boro have scored five goals fewer than any other team in the division, putting the pressure on the likes of Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga to find some form during the closing fixtures.

From Millwall's perspective, they will feel that this fixture has come at the perfect time as they bid to become a factor in the race for the top six.

While Gary Rowett will take the positives from a return of five points from three matches, it has not been enough to keep pace with the likes of Cardiff City and Derby County.

However, the London outfit arguably have the most favourable run-in of the clubs around them, and Rowett will be optimistic that five straight wins will earn a place in the playoffs.

Whether that is realistic remains to be seen, but Jake Cooper's late winner at Charlton Athletic on Friday night could act as the catalyst for a late upturn in results.

Millwall Championship form: DWLDDW

Middlesbrough Championship form: DWLWLL

Team News

Millwall boss Gary Rowett on February 15, 2020© Reuters

Rowett will remain without Mason Bennett and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson for the encounter on Wednesday afternoon.

Although Rowett could opt to name the same starting lineup, Ben Thompson and Tom Bradshaw are pushing for recalls to the side.

With Millwall potentially using a 3-4-3 strategy, it appears unlikely that Warnock will persist with a narrow formation.

Paddy McNair and Lewis Wing could return to partner former Millwall player George Saville in the centre of the pitch.

Marcus Tavernier will also feel that he is due a start after three substitute outings in a row.

Millwall possible starting lineup:
Bialkowski; Hutchinson, Cooper, Pearce; Romeo, Thompson, Woods, M.Wallace; J.Wallace, Smith, Bradshaw

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

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We say: Millwall 2-1 Middlesbrough

All things considered, this should be a tense, low-scoring affair. With Millwall having the momentum after their late win at Charlton, we can only back the Lions to edge out their struggling opponents.

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Millwall boss Gary Rowett on February 15, 2020
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