Middlesbrough host Reading in the Championship this weekend.

Middlesbrough are looking to break their way into the division’s top six with a win over Reading on Saturday. Chris Wilder’s side come into the game with the Royals off the back of four consecutive wins in all competitions.

Contrastingly, Reading are in a poor run of form, with their last three games seeing them draw with bottom side Derby County, lose to non-league Kidderminster Harriers in the FA Cup third round, and lose to Fulham at home 7-0.

Middlesbrough team news

Middlesbrough had to cancel their game against Sheffield United on New Years Day due to a COVID outbreak but the affected players will have likely recovered in time to play a part against Reading tomorrow.

Long-term absentees Darnell Fisher, Sammy Ameobi, and Marcus Browne are expected to continue their rehabilitation process and will not feature this weekend. Elsewhere, there are no new injury concerns for Wilder to contend with.

However, he will have the benefit of three new arrivals, with Aaron Connolly, Folarin Balogun, and Caolan Boyd-Munce all in contention to make their league debuts.

Predicted XI

GK – Joe Lumley

RWB – Isaiah Jones

CB – Anfernee Dijksteel

CB – Paddy McNair

CB – Dael Fry

LWB – Lee Peltier

CM – Jonny Howson

CM – Matt Crooks

CM – Marcus Tavernier

ST – Andraz Sporar

ST – Aaron Connolly

We expect to see Connolly given the nod over Balogun, although the Arsenal loanee could be preferred to the Brighton loanee if Wilder sees fit.

Neil Taylor could also start at left wing-back, but we expect Peltier to continue in that position given his good showing away at Blackpool in their last league outing.

Sol Bamba could miss out in favour of Jonny Howson with McNair dropping back into defence. But don’t be surprised to see the Ivory Coast international start with McNair staying further forwards.