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Preston North End logo
Championship | Gameweek 32
Feb 14, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Middlesbrough logo
2 - 1
Millar (23'), Riis Jakobsen (60')
Storey (86'), Browne (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Azaz (57')
McGree (90+6')

Preview: Preston North End vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Championship clash between Preston North End and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Preston North End play host to Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening looking for the victory that could catapult them back into Championship playoff contention.

At a time when the home side sit in 10th position in the standings, Middlesbrough have recently dropped down to 12th, four points adrift of their next opponents.

Match preview

Middlesbrough manager Michael Carrick on January 23, 2024© Reuters

Although Middlesbrough have been inconsistent throughout this campaign, the prospect of three successive matches at the Riverside Stadium set up the opportunity to move back into the promotion mix.

Instead, a failure to win any of those fixtures against Rotherham United, Sunderland and Bristol City has led to doubts whether Michael Carrick should remain at the helm.

Reaching the EFL Cup semi-finals courtesy of a favourable route aside, Boro have been poor this season and draws with Rotherham and Sunderland were followed by a 2-1 reverse to Bristol City on Saturday.

Boro were 2-0 behind after 17 minutes and netted their goal in stoppage time, and there is a negative mood at the North East outfit after just four wins in 12 league fixtures.

Now trailing the playoff positions by six points, Boro are considerable outsiders to reach the top six and only wins will do in the short and long term if they are to get back into contention.

That is the response that Ryan Lowe has gotten from his Preston outfit, who have recorded back-to-back victories over Ipswich Town and Cardiff City respectively.

Preston had previously won just three of 13 games in the second tier to drop towards the mid-table positions, but there is now renewed belief at Deepdale.

Successive triumphs had not been posted since November 10 and they now sit just four points behind fifth-placed West Bromwich Albion ahead of two home matches in a row.

Given the downturn in performances earlier in the season, Lowe will not be getting carried away with the recent improvements, yet he will back his side to come through this contest with their only defeat in five being a last-gasp 2-1 loss at Leeds United.

Preston North End Championship form:

Preston North End form (all competitions):

Middlesbrough Championship form:

Middlesbrough form (all competitions):

Team News

Preston North End Manager Ryan Lowe on December 26, 2023© Reuters

Barring any fitness issues, Lowe is expected to name the same Preston XI that ran out convincing victors at Cardiff.

Lowe used his five substitutions effectively in the closing 17 minutes, with Ryan Ledson or Robbie Brady most likely to return should fresh legs be preferred.

As it stands, Kian Best and Duane Holmes are the only two players that are sidelined through injury.

In sharp contrast, Carrick will be expected to make several alterations, with Luke Thomas and Riley McGree both in line to get opportunities at left-back and in the final third.

With Josh Coburn likely to miss out again with a groin issue, Sam Greenwood could retain his spot in attack, and a further six players - including Matt Crooks who has completed a move to Real Salt Lake - will be absent.

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, Browne, Whiteman, Frokjaer-Jensen, Millar; Keane, Riis

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Glover; Ayling, Fry, Van den Berg, Thomas; Hackney, Barlaser; Forss, McGree, Azaz; Greenwood

SM words green background

We say: Preston North End 1-1 Middlesbrough

With momentum in their favour, Preston are justifiably favourites to come through this contest on home territory. However, Boro are in a position where they need a response, and we are backing Carrick's side to deliver, even if it is only in the form of a draw.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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