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McNair starts: The predicted Middlesbrough XI to face Preston on Saturday

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Middlesbrough face a huge final game of the regular Championship season on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Deepdale to face Preston North End.

Chris Wilder’s side go into the game seventh in the Championship table, and know they must win to have a chance of claiming a play-off place.

Even then, they will also have to hope that either Luton, who host Reading, or Sheffield United, who are at home to Fulham, slip-up, if they are to claim a top six spot.

Preston meanwhile, go into this 14th in the standings, with neither promotion or relegation to worry about when they host ‘Boro this weekend.

But just what team could Wilder name to give his side the best possible chance of claiming those all important three points on Saturday afternoon?

We’ve taken a look how we think Middlesbrough will line-up for that game with Preston, right here.

Speaking ahead of the game, Wilder has revealed that he has a fully fit Middlesbrough squad to choose from, although he may look for some elements of consistency from the win over Stoke last time out.

In goal, Luke Daniels looks to have moved back ahead of Joe Lumley, so he should start between the posts at Deepdale.

One change we could see is in defence, where Paddy McNair is available after injury, and his importance to this team means he could return on the left of the back three, replacing Lee Peltier.

Isaiah Jones has been a stand-out figure for Middlesbrough this season, while Marcus Tavernier has also made some important impacts in the past few weeks in particular, so they ought to continue in the wing-back roles.

Can you get at least 80% on this end of season Middlesbrough quiz?

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Meanwhile, Jonny Howson, Riley McGree and Matt Crooks have all come up with some significant goalscoring contributions recently, the latter with his match-winning double against Stoke, so they look well set to be the trio who continue in the centre of the park.

Upfront, Wilder has made it a habit to rotate his attacking options throughout the course of the campaign, and may continue with that again here.

If he does, then the on-loan duo of Folarin Balogun and Aaron Connolly could come in to the side, replacing Andraz Sporar and Duncan Watmore.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: McNair starts: The predicted Middlesbrough XI to face Preston on Saturday

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