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On the back of the high of defeating Manchester United in the FA Cup, a trip to face promotion rivals Queens Park Rangers was always going to prove difficult for Boro.
Taking everything into consideration, Chris Wilder will be more than satisfied with a 2-2 draw at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, his team twice coming from behind to earn a share of the spoils.
Although Boro have since dropped out of the playoff spots, the point kept things ticking over in the right direction as they look to last the pace in the race for the top six.
With only five points coming from four away games, the onus is on collecting wins at the Riverside Stadium, and Boro have recorded five successive victories in the North-East.
Only one of those victories – the 2-0 success against Nottingham Forest – was particularly convincing, but Wilder will be quietly delighted about the character that his players keep showing on a weekly basis.
While Wilder has options available to him in all areas of the pitch, he may decide to name the Boro XI which started on Wednesday.
The most likely change could be Folarin Balogun starting in attack, but Riley McGree is an option if Matt Crooks or Marcus Tavernier are handed a rest.
Richard Stearman remains absent for Derby as he serves the second of a three-match ban for his recent red card at Huddersfield Town.
Krystian Bielik will be assessed after coming through 81 minutes on his first start for more than a year on Tuesday.
Barring any injury issues, Rooney may be satisfied to stick with the same Derby starting lineup, with Lee Buchanan continuing to deputise in the middle of the backline.
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Middlesbrough possible starting lineup:
Lumley; Dijksteel, Fry, McNair; Jones, Crooks, Howson, Tavernier, Taylor; Balogun, Sporar
Derby County possible starting lineup:
Allsop; Byrne, Davies, Buchanan, Forsyth; Bielik, Bird; Ebosele, Knight, Lawrence; Plange