The Build Up: Millwall vs Middlesbrough
It’s the last match before March’s international fixtures and Boro make the trip to East London to face Gary Rowett’s Millwall.
Boro come into the fixture after back-to-back home victories over Stoke City and Preston North End. Last time out, on the road, the Reds were defeated in a controversial meeting at the Liberty Stadium against Swansea City. After his fine by the FA, Warnock will be desperate for this weekend’s events to be majorly different.
The Teessiders won comfortably on Tuesday with a goal from Marcus Tavernier, adding to an own goal from Jordan Storey. A red card for Alan Browne, following an altercation with Sam Morsy, helped the Boro to all three points. It was a deserved win for Boro and after two successive clean sheets, Warnock will be hoping his side can carry on this momentum as they prepare for Millwall, going into the international break.
Paddy McNair faces a late fitness test for Boro and should Warnock's trusted Northern Irishman miss out at the weekend, that would be a huge blow for the Reds. McNair has been instrumental at the heart of Boro’s defence this season, with equally impressive cameos in midfield as of late. The ex-Sunderland man was forced off through injury midway through the second half of Tuesday’s victory.
Marcus Tavernier added energy into the midfield when he was brought on for Sam Morsy on Tuesday, and could start in place of McNair, should the latter not be fit for the fixture.
Bolasie and Kebano continue to offer threats on the wing, and their places in the starting line-up should remain. Ashley Fletcher came on for Chuba Akpom against Preston and will be vying for a starting spot in Warnock’s line-up.
Despite not starting in the last two games, Duncan Watmore and the Boro faithful will be all too pleased that the winger managed to secure himself a second individual award, while at Boro, in the shape of the February goal of the month competition, after his solo effort vs Huddersfield Town. The speedy winger will be hoping to feature on Saturday, to build on his successful spell at Boro thus far.
Millwall are Boro’s hosts for the weekend, and the Lions are currently in hit-and-miss form, having won two of their last seven, after three successive wins. Last time out, Millwall squandered a two-goal lead to the hand of QPR and left Loftus Road with nothing after Jed Wallace and Mason Bennett put Gary Rowett’s side two goals up at the break.
Gary Rowett was known for his counter attacking style of play at previous clubs, and this is no different to his time at Millwall. The Lions are a threat on the break with the speed of Wallace and Bennett. Former rumoured Boro target Jed Wallace is a known quantity in the Championship and has proven to be a tricky customer for full backs over the years. The winger tops the club’s charts as far as goals (8) and assists (4) are concerned.
Boro enjoyed a rampant opening 20 minutes as they found themselves 3-0 up well before the half hour mark. A brace from Duncan Watmore and an impressive strike from Marcus Tavenier awarded the Teessiders all three points, when the sides met at the Riverside in December.
Boro are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Millwall, winning three and drawing three. Consequently, the Reds hold the better head-to-head record between the two sides.
Boro wins: 25
Millwall wins: 19