ROTHERHAM United are long odds to claim their first win on Teesside in over half a century this evening, but their manager Neil Redfearn is not lacking in terms of inspiration.
Redfearn was at the helm of former club Leeds United when they dug out a 1-0 victory at the Riverside Stadium in February, with Boro, all told, having lost just twice on home soil in the previous 14 months.
A win tonight would probably surpass the Yorkshireman’s exploits earlier this yea.
While the Millers’ chief is loathe to make predictions after Saturday’s poor 3-0 loss at Derby County, there is one thing that he is demanding to see tonight.
He wants his players to be more assertive and proactive against another of the division’s big-hitters, after being disappointed by his side’s meek efforts on Saturday.
He said: “We have got to do more. I know Derby are up there and challenging, but we proved in the game against Reading, we were more than a match for a top side. We need to perform and push Middlesbrough.
“I remember last season when we scored early and then it was like the Alamo. But when we got a chance to play, we did.
“What disappointed me at Derby was that we didn’t play and these good football sides like Derby and Middlesbrough give you a chance to play.”
Ex-Blackburn Rovers striker Leon Best and Manchester City academy player Adam Drury are on trial with the Millers, who are struggling for firepower with Matt Derbyshire again sidelined.
Redfearn said: “(Best) has looked sharp and carries good pedigree and calibre. He knows this level and the one above.
“If we can get him where we need to, he’s an option perhaps.”
The Millers last win on Teesside came in March 1965, but Boro head coach Aitor Karanka expects a tougher game than his side faced against Charlton on Saturday.
He said: “They had a bad defeat on Saturday against Derby, and always the players want a reaction.”
Last six games: Middlesbrough LDLWDW, Rotherham WLLDLL.
Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).
Last time: Middlesbrough 2 Rotherham 0; April 11, 2015; Championship.