Opposition report: Middlesbrough

Blues head to the Riverside having lost just one away game in their last nine in the league.


A closer look at this afternoon's opponents...


Middlesbrough come into the game having won four of their last five Sky Bet Championship fixtures. Their last league defeat came during their final match of 2020 – away to Sheffield Wednesday where they lost 2-1.

But they quickly bounced back, going to Wycombe on 2 January and winning 3-1 in the league.

Generally speaking, Middlesbrough have been making steady progress in the division this season, considering Neil Warnock arrived at the club towards the tail end of last season when relegation was very-much on the cards. But after steering the ship to safety, the club now sit one point outside the play-off places.

More recently, Boro were in FA Cup action, where they fell to a 2-1 away defeat to fellow Championship outfit Brentford last weekend. The Teessiders line-up was much-changed and you can expect manager Neil Warnock to restore several first-team players for the visit of Blues.  


Neil Warnock needs little introducing to any supporter at this level. Meticulous and passionate, the former winger in his playing days has been at the helm of no less than 19 clubs as both a caretaker and senior manager.  

It’s a career that’s spanned forty years and started at Gainsborough Trinity, after he hung up his playing boots at Crewe Alexandra.

Before joining Boro last season, Warnock had been managing in South Wales at Cardiff City, whom he’d led to the Premier League. In doing so, it became his eighth promotion of his managerial career, which broke the record for the number of promotions achieved by any boss in England’s top four divisions.


Marcus Tavernier has started 19 of Middlesbrough’s 22 league games this season and at just 21-years-old, is certainly one to watch in the future.

The youngster has good movement, a real desire to get on the ball and is keen to receive passes at feet. Against Wycombe in Boro’s last league game, Tavernier received more passes than any of Boro’s front six players as they eventually broke the Chairboys deep-lying defence down.

And if the name does ring a bell – his older brother is James Tavernier, the captain at Scottish giants Rangers.


The two teams met at St. Andrew's less than a month ago, with the result ending in a 4-1 away win for the visitors.

Boro came from behind after Maxime Colin had opened the scoring for Blues, Britt Assombalonga, George Saville and a Lewis Wing brace condemning Aitor Karanka’s side to defeat.


Boro and Blues have met 118 times down the years – that since their first meeting all the way back in 1899 when Middlesbrough beat a then Small Heath Alliance by 3 goals to 1 in the Second Division.

Blues have the edge over the years though – 45 wins going our way, with Boro winning on 37 occasions. There have been 36 draws.

The last time Blues triumphed over the Teessiders was back in October 2019, when young forward Odin Bailey scored a triumphant late winner infront of the Tilton. The game finished 2-1.


The club was formed in February 1876 after players from the Middlesbrough Cricket Club decided to set up a football team. They  were launched after a meeting in a local gymnasium.

Their first ground was called the Archery, located in Albert Park. But they were forced to find another pitch three years later after being expelled from the park by a local committee, who were concerned about damage being left by over 200 spectators a game.