Middlesbrough v Fulham: Chris Wilder admits Boro need another ‘top-class’ home display to topple league leaders

Up against the best team in the league and the most prolific striker in Championship history, Middlesbrough will need a huge performance at home to Fulham this evening.

Fortunately, they have previous - especially at the Riverside.

It needed Chelsea to end their nine-match winning run on Teesside and when it comes to the Championship, no side - not even Fulham - have won more home games since Chris Wilder took over as manager in November.

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“Any game you play for Middlesbrough is big in this division,” said Wilder. “There are certain ones that do stand out at home - you look at Bournemouth, Forest, Tottenham where we’ve had to produce top-class performances to get results and we need one of those performances again.

EXCITING TIMES: For Chris Wilder and Middlesbrough as they seek victory over Fulham. Picture: Bradley Collyer/PA Wire.

“It’s arguably one of the games of the season in my opinion. We’re all looking forward to it.”

Remarkably, Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 37 goals in 36 Championship appearances for Fulham this season, five short of Guy Whittingham’s second-tier record, set in 1992-93 before the division was rebranded.

If that is daunting for Boro’s back three, they have already faced Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku this season - and, Wilder is keen to stress, Barnsley’s Carlton Morris.

“We’ve had some huge challenges as a back three and a goalkeeper,” said Wilder. “(Anfernee) Dijksteel, Fry and (Paddy) McNair have had to deal with the likes of Harry Kane. These are the challenges. I do keep reminding Dael of Carlton Morris. He wrapped Harry Kane up but he can’t wrap Carlton Morris up and that’s no disrespect to Carlton Morris but that’s your consistency levels.

HOME FORTRESS: Boro beat Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur at the Riverside earlier this season. Picture: Getty Images.

“Mitrovic is another huge challenge for Dael and the boys. We know we’re going to have to deal with a lot of things, their build-up play, coming off to feet and getting in the box. The reason he scores 37 goals is because of the service he gets and the quality around him but he’s the one in the box.”

Boro have no fresh injuries, with only Martin Payero, who is back in training, unavailable.

Last six games: Middlesbrough WLWDLW; Fulham WLDWWW

Referee: J Linington (Isle of Wight)

Last time: Middlesbrough 0 Fulham 0, October 26, 2019, Championship.