The Build Up - Rotherham vs Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough v Rotherham Preview
Boro make the trip to Rotherham on Wednesday night, as the Millers chase Championship survival.
Boro head into the game after the side continued their run of bad form with a 2-1 defeat to QPR at the weekend. Neil Warnock’s side started the game with a real lack of urgency or desire, and that saw QPR race into a two-goal lead, with league debutant Jordan Archer rooted in the Boro net. The Teessiders managed to get back into the game with Yannick Bolasie scoring his second for his on-loan side, before Seny Dieng got himself sent off in the second half for a challenge on forward Duncan Watmore.
Archer started a league game for the first time on Saturday, much to the delight of many Boro fans. First-choice keeper for the season, Marcus Bettinelli has really failed to impress, particularly in the last 4/5 months. The rise in concerns come as rumours arise of Bettinelli’s potential permanent move in the summer.
However, Warnock stated in the pre-match conference that Sol Brynn will get the chance to impress between the sticks. He also once again said how he is hoping that the likes of Josh Coburn, Hayden Hackney and Connor Malley will get chances in the remainder of the games. The trio were unused substitutes at the weekend and fans are growing in concern that Warnock won’t stick to his word.
The concerns come as a result of the lack of appearances they are making in contrast to want-away striker Britt Assombalonga. Warnock, and the fans alike, are aware that Assombalonga will play no more part in Boro’s future and thus, should see chances given to fringe and youth players as we continue to play games with little to no ultimate meaning for Boro.
January recruit Nathaniel Mendez-Laing will be missing for the game through injury, and it remains to be seen whether the winger will get another chance to impress between now and the close of the season.
Rotherham come into the game four points from survival, with three games in hand over closest rivals Derby County. The Millers will seek encouragement from Derby’s 3-0 defeat to Preston on Tuesday night, granting Paul Warne’s side a lifeline.
Rotherham’s deadline day loan signing, Lewis Wing will be a big miss for Warne, as the midfielder returns to face his parent club. Wing has impressed during his short spell in South Yorkshire. However, the Millers will take inspiration from their last outing against Boro where they ran out 3-0 victors, without Wing being a part of the Rotherham squad at the time. The midfielder was a 68th-minute substitute for Boro in that game.
Matt Smith stands as Rotherham’s top scorer this season, and alongside Matt Crooks, ran the Boro side ragged when they made the trip up to the Riverside in late January. The Millers have lost both their last two games 1-0, both against relegation rivals, and on both occasions, the duo have started. Paul Warne is desperate for his side to pick up points, after losing out to several sides down at the bottom end of the table.
As already mentioned, the last time these two sides was in late January. Lewis Wing was still a Boro player and Patrick Roberts made a rare start. Rotherham would win the game 3-0 with very little fight from Warnock’s side. Goals from Matt Crooks and Ryan Giles, either side of a Matt Smith penalty earned the South Yorkshire outfit a much deserved three points at the Riverside.
Boro maintain a healthy head-to-head record over Wednesday’s opponents. However, Boro fans may remember this fixture as the final game before the infamous ‘walk-out’ of Aitor Karanka, the season that the Reds won promotion in 2016.
Boro wins: 20
Rotherham wins: 11