Crystal Palace loanee Loic Remy has returned to Chelsea after sustaining an injury in training which is expected to keep him out for a number of weeks.
This will be the first Premier League meeting between these sides since 2004/05, when Middlesbrough won 2-1 at home and 1-0 away.
Middlesbrough have lost only one of their last 10 home matches in the top flight, but seven of these have ended all square (W2 D7 L1).
The Eagles have never won in five league visits to the Riverside Stadium (D2 L3).
Christian Benteke has been flagged offside more than anyone else in the Premier League this season, despite playing once (5).
Aitor Karanka: "Crystal Palace are experienced and have a good manager. But we have to focus on ourselves and play in our style."
Alan Pardew on Loic Remy: "It is obviously a blow for the player and for us as a squad. He was looking great in training."