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The Opposition: Middlesbrough

The lowdown on Saturday’s hosts

23 August 2019

Millwall contest the second of three away matches in six days this Saturday afternoon, looking to respond to the midweek defeat at Fulham with a positive result at the Riverside Stadium against Middlesbrough. Neil Harris’ men remain three points above Jonathan Woodgate’s Boro’ heading into the game, in ninth position whilst The Teessiders sit 16th.

The Lions must dust theirselves off following Wednesday’s 4-0 loss at a strong Fulham outfit at Craven Cottage, not helped by the first-half injury suffered by Jiri Skalak, with Jed Wallace still suspended. However, Millwall have picked up more points than dropped, with seven on the board from four Sky Bet Championship games. Middlesbrough have endured a slow beginning, defeated by Brentford and Blackburn, as well as a draw with Luton and a win in their last outing against Wigan. Boro’ have also been eliminated from the Carabao Cup at the hands of League Two Crewe.

Boro’ are seeking a significant hunt for the top six this campaign, having missed out last season with a seventh-place finish. The frustration saw Tony Pulis leave the club, replaced by club legend Woodgate. Recruits including Anfernee Dijksteel, Marcus Browne and Marc Bola have been brought into the club, with notable departures including Stewart Downing, John Obi Mikel and Aden Flint.

Local lad Woodgate took on the managerial post in the summer on a three-year contract, his first prime coaching role after assisting Steve Agnew and Pulis, as well as being part of the coaching setup for Boro’s Under 18 side. The former centre-half played for Boro’ in two spells – the first initially on loan – and retired as a player on Teesside in 2016. Woodgate also represented Real Madrid, Tottenham, Stoke and Newcastle, as well as tallying over 100 League appearances for Leeds in his early career. The 39-year-old holds eight full England caps, earned between 1999 and 2008.

Millwall have won 19 meetings with Boro’ – our opponents have taken 23 victories. The sides drew the two meetings of last season in the League, a 2-2 tie at The Den and 1-1 at the Riverside – both seeing Boro’ earn a point late on. The Lions’ last three points over Boro’ came in the form of a 2-1 win in December 2017, with now-Teessider George Saville scoring the decisive goal at The Den.

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