Middlesbrough FC news: The inside track on Blackburn Rovers, Tony Mowbray and former Boro players at Ewood Park

Middlesbrough legend Tony Mowbray will come up against his former side this weekend.
Middlesbrough legend Tony Mowbray will come up against his former side this weekend.

Middlesbrough will make the trip to Blackburn on Sunday afternoon but what should they expect?

Rovers sit 14th in the Championship following their promotion from League One last campaign and have kicked-on under former Boro boss Tony Mowbray.

Yet three straight defeats have seen Blackburn slip eight points adrift of the play-offs ahead of their meeting with Boro at Ewood Park.

Mowbray isn't the only one who's experienced life in both Teesside and Lancashire, with former Boro players Harry Chapman, Richard Smallwood, Danny Graham and Jayson Leutwiler currently plying their trade at Rovers.

We caught up with Blackburn reporter Richard Sharpe at the Lancashire Telegraph to see how they're doing and what Boro will come up against this weekend.

Current Blackburn boss and Middlesbrough legend Tony Mowbray took charge at Boro under difficult circumstances but managed to cut the wage bill significantly at the Riverside. How’s he viewed at Rovers?

He has made a lot of feel more connected to their club again after a difficult few seasons. His tally of 22 points from 15 games at the end of the 2016/17 couldn’t quite save them from relegation, but after talks with the owners that summer, he committed his future to the club and signed a new deal, leading the club back to the Championship at the first attempt.

He is very principled in the way he works, and has been loyal to last season’s squad, something some fans would like to see change, but for the most part, the fans can see that progress has been made.

Harry Chapman rejoined Rovers last month but hasn’t featured since. Were you surprised by the move and is there a chance he’ll break into the side this season?

Rovers have been trying to sign Harry Chapman on a permanent deal for well over a year so were happy to get that one over the line. After a tough time with injuries, they’re being cautious with him before easing him in to the side. He’s viewed as very much an exciting, but long-term, prospect. He may make the odd appearance this season, but Mowbray isn’t one to thrust players in to the side.

A couple of other former Boro players are currently on Blackburn’s books (Richard Smallwood, Danny Graham and Jayson Leutwiler), how have they fared at the club?

Richie Smallwood was an ever present last season and an instrumental part of the promotion team. Of late, after a spell out suspended, has seen his place taken by an emerging youngster, Lewis Travis, but has proven to be a more than solid member of this side.

Danny Graham is arguably the most important player in this side, his value to it rising by the week. They really do use his physical presence to get them up the pitch at times, and his link-up play with Bradley Dack, in particular, is excellent. He will soon reach 50 goals for the club, and has hit double figures in each of his three seasons at Rovers. He’s a popular figure on and off the pitch and deservedly got another year’s contract extension at the end of 2018.

Jayson Leutwiler is a really great guy, we’ve just not seen much of him on the pitch since signing.

Aside from the aforementioned players, who else do Boro need to watch out for on Sunday?

Adam Armstrong won the January player of the month award and the former Newcastle attacker has really flourished so far in 2019. He has pace to burn, and been among the goals and assists so far.

What formation are Rovers likely to play and how will they set-up against Boro at Ewood Park?

They have been almost exclusively 4-2-3-1 for the last 16 months. Expecting both Bradley Dack and Danny Graham to return to the side on Sunday.

Finally, what do you think the score will be on Sunday?

Rovers need to bounce back from a run of three straight defeats and can see them edging this one 1-0.