The Royals - absent from the top flight of English football since the 2012-13 campaign - are currently in fifth position, eight points ahead of Boro, who are chasing down the top six in eighth spot.
While the Berkshire side still have slim hopes of automatic promotion as they are currently six points behind the top two, a win over Middlesbrough would put them in an incredibly strong position to qualify for the playoffs – particularly with games against struggling Wycombe Wanderers and Rotherham United coming up.
The Royals have been beaten in their last two home games against Brentford and Millwall but have not lost three successive fixtures at the Madejski Stadium since October 2019, while they are the only side in the Championship yet to draw a home match this season.
Only Brentford (56) have scored more times in the division this season than Reading (44), but Veljko Paunovic's team have conceded the second-most goals in the top half (34).
Middlesbrough could have been a lot closer to Reading in the table had it not been for their recent poor run of form, with their 2-1 win against Huddersfield Town on Tuesday being their first victory in six matches.
Warnock will hope that the result gets Boro's playoff bid back on track, but they are still six points behind the top six with a key game to come against seventh-placed Cardiff City next weekend.
Middlesbrough have won just four of their 15 away games this season, and all of those victories have come against sides in the current bottom half.
The 0-0 draw between Boro and Reading earlier this season halted a run of seven successive defeats for the Royals against the Teeside outfit.
Reading Championship form: DWDLLW
Middlesbrough Championship form: LLDLLW
Josh Laurent is expected to go back into Reading's starting lineup after he was rested against Bristol City, with Paunovic admitting that the midfielder had "got a couple of knocks".
Royals captain Liam Moore is fit again and was named on the bench on Tuesday night, but he will not be able to walk straight back into the side as Tom McIntyre has performed well at centre-back in his absence.
Warnock went with a back three against Huddersfield for the first time since December, and he could retain the same system on Saturday.
McNair's red card on Wednesday has been overturned so he is available for selection at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading possible starting lineup:
Rafael; Yiadom, Morrison, McIntyre, Richards; Laurent, Semedo; Olise, Rinomhota, Ejaria; Joao
Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Bettinelli; Dijksteel, Fry, McNair; Fisher, Morsy, Howson, Bola; Kebano; Watmore, Fletcher
We say: Reading 2-1 Middlesbrough
This is a key game for both teams' hopes for the rest of the season so it could be a tight and cagey affair in Berkshire. Wins on Tuesday will give the two sides confidence after recent dips in form, but we think it will be Reading that manage to snatch the three points.