Middlesbrough v PNE likely line-ups, key men, the referee and all you need to know ahead of Championship clash

Preston North End are at Middlesbrough on Wednesday night in a key game in the Championship play-off race.

Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 7:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 8:08 am
George Friend and Tom Barkhuizen battle for the ball during the meeting between the sides at Deepdale

From likely line-ups to key men and the referee, all you need to know can be found below.

Likely line-ups

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Howson, Shotton, Ayala, Fry, Friend, Mikel, Saville, Wing, Fletcher, Assombalonga

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George Friend and Tom Barkhuizen battle for the ball during the meeting between the sides at Deepdale

PNE: Rudd, Clarke, Storey, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Potts, Browne, Johnson, Gallagher, Maguire

Key men

John Obi Mikel: The midfielder has been superb since he arrived in January and has allowed the midfielders playing around him to blossom and get forward. The praise for Mikel has been endless since he signed from teammates, his manager and opposing managers.

Ben Pearson: Back from his ban and set to get straight into the side. Ryan Ledson has proved a fine understudy but Pearson is key to how Alex Neil wants his side to play and will be vital if PNE are to force their way into the top six come May.

In the home dugout

Tony Pulis: Former Stoke, Crystal Palace and West Brom boss has been in charge of Boro since Boxing Day 2017, losing out in the Championship play-offs last season. An old hand, the Welshman has been tasked with bringing Premier League football back to the Riverside Stadium.

The referee

Keith Stroud: The Hampshire official has taken charge of just one PNE game this season, sending off Josh Earl in the 1-1 draw with Swansea at Deepdale in January. That is one of two red cards he has shown this season, Stroud also brandishing 77 of the yellow variety in 22 games.

Odds

Middlesbrough: 21/20

Draw: 9/4

PNE: 13/5