2018-19 Championship preview: Middlesbrough

NEWSATDEN looks at all of Millwall’s 23 opponents ahead of the 2018-19 Championship season.

Next up, Lucas Ball examines the credentials of one of the promotion favourites: Middlesbrough.

Name: Middlesbrough

Nickname: Boro

Manager: Tony Pulis

Stadium: Riverside Stadium [34,742]

Postcode: TS3 6RS

Club website: www.mfc.co.uk

Match-day directions: footballgroundguide.com

Nearest train station: Middlesbrough

Promotion odds (Sky Bet): 11/4

Last meeting: Sky Bet Championship – Middlesbrough 2-0 Millwall [Britt Assombalonga 11', Jonny Howson 66']; April 28, 2018

Last season: 5th in Sky Bet Championship [Lost 1-0 on aggregate to Aston Villa in play-off semi-final]

Goals for: 67

Goals against: 45

Top league goal scorer: Britt Assombalonga (14)

First-team 2018-19 transfers

Ins: Aden Flint [£7.2 million from Bristol City]; Paddy McNair [£5.1 million from Sunderland]

Outs: Fabio [£1.8 million to Nantes]; Antonio Barragan [£900k to Real Betis]; Martin Cranie [released]; Tomas Mejias [free transfer to Omonia Nikosia]

Middlesbrough made their move relatively early in the transfer market this summer, with Tony Pulis adding Aden Flint from Bristol City and then Sunderland's Paddy McNair to his squad. Flint appears to be a typical Tony Pulis player at over 6ft 5ins tall, and scored nine goals in all competitions for the Robins last season.

McNair was one of the few bright sparks for Sunderland in a bleak season that ended in a second successive relegation, and will be looking to prove himself at the top end of the Championship having graduated from Manchester United's academy.

So far four players have left the Riverside, with Pulis opting to move towards a slightly younger squad.

A forward line led by Britt Assombalonga and supported through Patrick Bamford and Martin Braithwaite is almost guaranteed goals at this level, and Flint adds some much-needed defensive steel.

Prediction: Promotion

Millwall boss Neil Harris has already said that anyone who finishes above Boro this season will go up, and their record under Pulis last season was good.

With the ex-Stoke manager in charge for the whole season they will have the ability to grind out the results that they need, but the Welshman also seems to be encouraging his players to play with more freedom, something he hasn’t always been renowned for.

Their squad already has the look of one that is too good not to achieve promotion, and I can't see anything but a top-two finish for Middlesbrough this season.

This season's fixtures: 

Millwall vs Middlesbrough – Saturday August 4, 2018 [Kick-off: 3pm]

Middlesbrough vs Millwall – Saturday January 19, 2019 [Kick-off: 3pm]

Image: Millwall FC