The away day trips for Neil Harris' Millwall continue as the Lions make the long trip to North Yorkshire to face Jonathan Woodgate's Middlesbrough.
Millwall's start to the 2019/20 Championship campaign was very respectable and had a lot of fans feeling optimistic, but the humbling midweek defeat at Craven Cottage brought the South London side back to work with a thud. The 4-0 defeat to Fulham showed that the Championship is not to be underestimated and the hosts in this fixture have also learned this lesson early on. Tipped as one of the promotion favourites this year, 'Boro are currently in 16th place and have only one win so far in this campaign.
History in the league between the two leans in Middlesbrough's favour, with Boro being victorious in 20 meetings between the two compared with Millwall's 15. The Lions have only beaten the former Premier League side once in their last eight games, but Neil Harris will be eager to get his campaign kick started again following the game in West London.
Haven't we met before?...
Middlesbrough 1-1 Millwall, Saturday 19th January 2019 - Millwall's struggles on the road continued and not many gave the Lions a chance to get the win, but a first half goal from Jed Wallace put Millwall on the way to victory. Those vital three points seemed to be coming back to Bermondsey with Millwall, but a last minute shove in the penalty area from Steve Morison saw the referee point to the penalty spot and Jordan Hugill coolly slotted home from twelve yards to secure a draw.
Jonathan Woodgate can recall Dael Fry who has recovered from a knee injury, George Friend is still 50/50 for this game and Hayden Coulson remains out.
Millwall's main injury concern is that of new signing Frank Fielding, who has injured his quad muscle and faces a long time out on the sidelines. Jed Wallace is banned following his straight red card he received against Sheffield Wednesday and Jiri Skalak is also set for a spell on the physio's bench after picking up an injury against Fulham.
THE ONE TO WATCH -
Many are talking about the young Brighton loanee and how he came to joining the Lions this summer and with Jed Wallace and Jiri Skalak out of action, the midfielder could be called into action for this clash at the Riverside. The Republic of Ireland star has excelled through the youth levels of his national side and already has many plaudits behind the scenes. He will look to build on this and be eager to get his first league career start after coming on as a substitute in the midweek defeat with Fulham.
WHO ARE YA?
For this weeks 'Who are ya?' we sit down with the Geoff Groves, a loyal Boro loving North Yorkshireman. This week we ask what does Geoff think of the Woodgate appointment, how the season is going so far, who Millwall need to look out for and what he thinks the score will be.
1. It’s been a tricky start for Boro and only one win so far. How has the season been for you?
Disappointed results and performance, we've only looked good in one half against Luton and one against Brentford so far, was hoping for mid table to play offs this season, but unless we can gel I'll have to settle for mid table.
2. You have a Boro fan favourite in the dugout now in Jonathan Woodgate, how do you think the former defender’s management style is and how do you think he will do?
Not my first choice, the financial situation at the club dictates how we will operate going forward from now on, free transfers and bargain buys the way forward for us now. I do like how Woodgate talks about the game says things as a Boro fan would, I hope it works out well but it's early days yet and we need to try click.
3. Many Millwall fans look for how Boro are getting on due to George Saville being a member of your squad. The former Millwall man hasn’t featured too much this season, how is he getting on?
I think you've had our eyes out for what we paid, don't think he has settled, maybe due to being in and out of team, not sure Woody fancies him and I believe he would of been sold if an offer had come in for him, maybe we haven't seen the best of him but he did well for Millwall but I can see us making a big loss when he moves on, par for the course with Boro though to flog players at a loss.
4. Last season’s game saw a late equaliser saving the blushes of Boro. How can you see this game going?
I've gone for a 1-0 Boro win, I expect a scrappy game but didn't expect your lot to get hammered by Fulham so think Harris will have given them a rocket and you'll be up for this one now.
5. Which players do Millwall need to look out for?
I would say McNair, think he will be the driving force in the team this season and we hope Lewis Wing can get within shooting range of goal as he has a cracking shot on him.
6. What do you think the score will be?
As above went for 1 nil in my predictor pre season, I'm gonna stick with that and hopefully it's a better spectacle to watch, I shouldn't complain though we had Pulisball for 18 months which was painful to watch.
PREDICTION: MIDDLESBROUGH 0-1 MILLWALL
This will be a tough ask and a big game against a side Millwall don't tend to do too well against, but with Boro having a shaky start and Neil Harris desperate to forget the defeat against Fulham, I am actually feeling slightly optimistic and think the South London side could nick a win. It may not be pretty, but a 1-0 away victory is my prediction.
Come on you Lions.