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Aug 8, 2021 at 1.30pm UK
Wilson (29')
Mitrovic (1'), Wilson (71')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Bola (77')
McNair (16'), Ikpeazu (36'), Bola (53')

Preview: Fulham vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Fulham vs. Middlesbrough - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Championship clash between Fulham and Middlesbrough, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Fulham begin life back in the Championship by welcoming Middlesbrough to Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.

Like their hosts, Middlesbrough will be looking to achieve promotion to the Premier League after a below-par campaign under Neil Warnock last season.

Match preview

After their relegation back to the second tier, Fulham could have done without the saga which involved Scott Parker eventually making the switch to Championship rivals Bournemouth.

A reduced pre-season schedule and more outgoings than arrivals have left Marco Silva with much work ahead as he bids to get the West Londoners off to the perfect start.

Nevertheless, the Portuguese will be optimistic about the future having already secured the signings of former Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga and Liverpool midfielder Harry Wilson.

More players will eventually come through the door, but the duo each bring quality and experience to a squad which has lost several high-profile loan players.

While Silva and his squad will fancy their chances in their opening triple-header, they cannot underestimate a much-changed Middlesbrough side.

Warnock has reacted to losing a number of senior players by strengthening in several positions, the most notable signing being that of Argentine midfielder Martin Payero.

The fact that Boro were prepared to pay a substantial fee for the 22-year-old, who has just featured at the Olympics, shows the club's ambition to get back into the top flight.

The arrival of Matt Crooks from Rotherham United could also make a difference, although Boro will not challenge for the top six unless they find a regular goalscorer.

On paper, Middlesbrough have one of the more favourable starts to the season, but they may relish the opportunity to play as underdogs on Sunday.

Fulham pre-season friendlies form:
  • D
  • W

Middlesbrough pre-season friendlies form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

While Silva has a decision to make with regards to his goalkeepers, Gazzaniga is expected to get the nod over Marek Rodak.

Andre-Frank Anguissa's participation will depend on whether any bids have been accepted for his signature, but Aleksandar Mitrovic should lead the line.

Despite making an impression during pre-season, youngster Fabio Carvalho may start this contest among the replacements, while Harrison Reed is a doubt.

Middlesbrough will have to make do without Payero as they continue to wait for international clearance after his transfer from Banfield.

However, Crooks could be handed his debut, helping support Duncan Watmore and fellow new signing Uche Ikpeazu in the final third.

Marcus Tavernier, who is an injury doubt, may start the game among the replacements.

Fulham possible starting lineup:
Gazzaniga; Tete, Ream, Adarabioyo, Robinson; Reed, Anguissa; Knockaert, Cordova-Reid, Wilson; Mitrovic

Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley; McNair, Fry, Hall; Dijksteel, Howson, Morsy, Coulson; Crooks, Watmore; Ikpeazu

We say: Fulham 2-1 Middlesbrough

With both clubs having a fresh look about them this season, a highly-competitive match could play out at the weekend. However, still possessing Premier League quality in their side, we expect Fulham to edge this contest by the odd goal in three.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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