|Middlesbrough 0 v 1 Blackburn Rovers|
Sunday, 24th January 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Middlesbrough vs Blackburn Rovers: Opposition Preview
Saturday, 23rd Jan 2021 15:30 by Phil Spencer
It's back to the Riverside for Neil Warnock's side as Middlesbrough welcome Blackburn Rovers to Teesside.
Boro recorded a deserved victory midweek as they beat Nottingham Forest 2-1, but this weekend will bring a different test.
Tony Mowbray's side are in town and Mogga will certainly be keen to get one over on the club he loves so dearly.
But what do we know about Blackburn?
We spoke to the team at Rovers Chat for the lowdown.
How would you sum up Blackburn's season so far?
Frustrating and inconsistent are the two words that come to mind. We started well, matching the likes of Bournemouth and Watford but just not having the edge to win, but it seemed like it would click properly soon.
Unfortunately, the performances started to drop off and the results continue to go against us, and if we don't pick it up soon, we're going to have more 'dead rubber' games than the last couple of seasons.
We're yet to beat any sides above us when we face them, and that's a statistic that will stick with us until we can shake it off - sorry but I hope that happens on Sunday!
In my eyes, we're going to finish around the position I thought - 9th to 12th - but a growing number of fans are becoming frustrated and annoyed with how we're performing and the lack of victories in the last couple of months.
The team talked up the top six in the summer - which I understand because fans want to see that optimism - and we definitely built our hopes up after thrashing Wycombe at home and Derby and Coventry away, but we're not going to reach the top six this season.
It feels like we're at a massive point in Tony Mowbray's time at the club, and as each loss comes, the number of fans wanting him gone are only going to increase.
What are your ambitions this season?
For me, it's to be in and around the play-off hunt. I don't think we'll reach them, but we should at least be in the talk for them, which doesn't even look that likely at the moment. We're not up there in terms of budget or available money, but with the talent that this side has - especially now they're all coming back to full fitness - we should be at least flirting with the top six.
Who are the key men for Middlesbrough to watch for?
Adam Armstrong is the league's top scorer, and although he's struggled at times in recent weeks, he's still a goalscoring forward who will cause problems if you give him the chance to. He's probably not going to be a Rovers player next season, so let's enjoy him while we can and hopefully he grabs goal number 18 of the season on Sunday.
Harvey Elliott has also been a revelation since signing on loan from Liverpool. Just 17 years old, already in double figures for goal contributions this season and he will undoubtedly play at the highest level for a number of seasons in the years to come.
We've also got Joe Rothwell in the midfield, and when he's on his game, he's up there in terms of midfielders in this division. His driving runs from midfield cause teams problems and if you don't keep close to him, you're going to be punished.
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How do you see Blackburn lining up?
This is a tough one! I'll have a guess at: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Branthwaite, Douglas, Downing, Davenport, Rothwell, Elliott, Armstrong, Brereton - using our usual 4-3-3 formation.
Predictions for the game?
I think it'll be a cagey affair, hopefully better than the last meeting though! I'd usually back us to win, but with our recent run, I'll go for a 1-1 draw.
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