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Match Previews

Preview: Middlesbrough v Rovers

A look ahead to this afternoon's game against Boro at the Riverside Stadium

24 January 2021

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Rovers return to action this afternoon, with Tony Mowbray taking his side to a club he knows better than any other - Middlesbrough.

The boss is a former Boro player and manager, and his family base remains in the Teesside area.

Boro come into the game on the back of a morale-boosting win at Nottingham Forest in midweek, with goals from Britt Assombalonga and George Saville earning all three points on the road.

However, they did suffer defeat in their last home outing, with Scott Hogan's solitary strike providing a 1-0 win for Birmingham City in the north-east.

Neil Warnock's charges sit a place and three points outside the top six place in the second tier, whilst Rovers know how crucial the three points could be at the Riverside Stadium.

The last meeting was a 0-0 at Ewood Park back in November, with Aynsley Pears keeping a clean sheet against his old employers.

On his return to Boro, Pears is likely to line up on the bench, with Thomas Kaminski set to continue in goal.

Although another Boro old boy in Daniel Ayala is out, Stewart Downing, who appeared over 400 times for his hometown club, is expected to be in the matchday squad.

The injuries look to be clearing up for Mowbray, with Elliott Bennett and Corry Evans both training with the squad this week.

However, Joe Rankin-Costello remains a couple of weeks away and Sam Gallagher is a doubt for the trip after picking up a back injury in last week's home encounter against Stoke City.

For Boro, Ashley Fletcher is closing in on a return following a hamstring problem which has kept him out since September, whilst defender Grant Hall (thigh) is also making progress.

However, Marcus Browne remains a long-term absentee with a cruciate ligament.

“We’ve got two tough games coming up, starting with Blackburn," he said.

Two of the most experienced bosses in the division face-off, with Mowbray pitting his wits against Warnock, the oldest manager in the league.
And Warnock is expecting an even contest later on today.

“I think they probably play better away from home this year," he said ahead of the game.

"They’ve got some really good forwards and we’re looking forward to it.

“I think Rovers are probably around where we thought we would be, if I’m honest.

"You’ve just got to try and keep going and get as many points as you can.”

Kick-off is at 3pm this afternoon, and fans can catch all the action by purchasing an iFollow Rovers audio pass or by following the coverage across our social media channels.

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