Middlesbrough will be hoping for a repeat performance from the reverse fixture today as they travel to Pride Park to face Derby County.
Boro were 3-0 winners back in November at the Riverside Stadium – that proving to be Wayne Rooney’s last game as a player as he stepped back to focus on his temporary managerial responsibilities at the time.
It’s now been revealed by Neil Warnock that he gave Rooney a little piece of advice that he’s seemed to heed – telling the former England forward that he should retire from playing in order to focus on the task at hand on the sidelines.
Since Rooney did that, Derby’s form has improved a lot, although they still remain in a tight relegation battle with quite a few other teams.
And despite a 3-0 loss over Rotherham 10 days ago, Rooney will be confident that his side can take all three points – especially as Boro are in poor form right now.
A 4-1 defeat against Brentford last week made it just one win in their last six games, but Warnock will not have to make a plan for someone as prolific as Ivan Toney this week.
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But he will have to contend with the absence of Yannick Bolasie, with the creative winger not in the matchday squad.
Duncan Watmore replaces the DR Congo international in the only change from the Brentford defeat, and it’s one that Boro fans are surprised by and are gutted that Bolasie is missing.
There’s a bit of unhappiness at the team, with George Saville and Britt Assombalonga’s inclusions coming in for criticism – check out some reactions below.
same lightweight midfield, although we don’t have much to change it with
— lewis clarke (@lc1474) February 13, 2021
No Bolasie no party
— Caine McCabe 🇨🇩 (@CaineUTB) February 13, 2021
Not slating him, but how do you have such a disaster of a performance and still get in the team next week, Saville shouldn’t be starting
— Louis 🇨🇩 (@louis_baxtrem) February 13, 2021
We want Yannick😢
— 🇨🇩🧊 (@rhysmfc_) February 13, 2021
Not sure what to feel about this
— Marcus🇨🇩 (@marcus_mfc) February 13, 2021
Disgrace that Britt starts he’s shocking
— UTB (@DailyBoro) February 13, 2021
Let’s play the same striker that does absolutely nothing week in, week out 🥱🥱 no surprise there
— Harry (@HarrySmith075) February 13, 2021
How many misses from Britt today then? Surely time to give Akpom a run of games given Britt going in the summer
— Ironopolis (@ironopolis69) February 13, 2021
If Hall & Fletcher are fit, get them in the starting 11.
My heart sank when I seen Assombalonga again.
— Peter Quinn (@KwoshDj) February 13, 2021
Please don’t say we have injured bolasie after 2 weeks https://t.co/MZpvHpAm0S
— Jack Bowden 🇨🇩🇨🇩🇨🇩 (@JackBow95698775) February 13, 2021