As Boro host Millwall at the Riverside this Saturday (3pm), we take a look at some players who have worn the red of the Teessiders and the blue of the Lions...
Having moved to Wolves from boyhood club Exeter City in his native Devon in 2008, Millwall was the destination for Friend the following year in the first of a series of loan moves in pursuit of senior experience. He played seven times for The Lions, including his first taste of League One football, also spending time at Southend, Scunthorpe and returning to Exeter for a spell before making a permanent move to Doncaster Rovers in 2010.
Chelsea Youth product George Saville had two loan spells with Millwall before he eventually made a permanent move to The Den in 2017. A successful loan stint with another London-based side Brentford before heading to Wolves on a permanent basis, Saville briefly spent time with Bristol City on loan before returning to The Lions in a loan switch before becoming a permanent fixture there. The Northern Ireland international netted ten times for Millwall last season and made the move north to Boro at the end of August.
Fifteen appearances were enough to earn Uwe Fuchs cult status on Teesside, the German’s nine goals in 1995 helping to get Boro’s promotion bid back on track. It was not enough, however, to convince boss Bryan Robson to extend Fuchs’ stay beyond an initial loan period, with the forward instead moving to Millwall. He would score a further five goals in his single season at The Den before returning home to finish his career with Arminia Bielefeld.
Cooper had established himself as a major presence in the Boro side that won back-to-back promotions under Bruce Rioch in the late 80s, so when Rioch took over at Millwall in 1990, he saw the Durham-born defender as a risk-free acquisition at a fee of 300,000. Cooper would make more than 70 appearances in two years with The Lions, scoring six goals. A move to Nottingham Forest followed, with Cooper earning two England caps during his time with the East Midlands club. He would, of course, return to Boro in the latter years of his career before becoming part of our coaching staff.
A loan man at both Boro and Millwall from Watford, Italian Diego Fabbrini spent three months of the second half of the 2014/15 campaign with The Lions, scoring just once in a 3-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday. Another short loan stint with Birmingham City the same season, Fabbrini joined us for the first half of the following campaign, making 14 league starts for us and finding the back of the net on six occasions in all competitions.
Another of Bruce Rioch’s Boro boys to subsequently follow his former manager to Millwall, Kerr joined The Lions in March 1991. The midfielder top-scored for Millwall 12 goals the following campaign, his only full season there before linking up with former Boro teammate Bernie Slaven at Port Vale.
Former Spurs trainee Fredericks was a fixture at right-back during a three-month loan spell with Millwall in 2014, before making the same position his own in Boro’s Play-Off push the following year. That summer, Fredericks initially transferred to Bristol City - but it was a move that proved short-lived, with the right-back citing personal reasons as the motivation for a return to the capital with Fulham just 26 days later. After celebrating Play-Off success and promotion with Slavisa Jokanovic’s side last season, this summer saw Fredericks move to another London club, West Ham, on a free transfer.
McDonald bagged 40 goals in four seasons with Boro before making the move to fellow second-tier side Millwall in 2013 - The Lions also picking up Teesside teammate Nicky Bailey at the end of his contract. A leaner spell followed for the Australian marksman, with just six goals - including one against Boro in our 5-1 victory at The Den - over two years at Millwall. He returned north of the border to Motherwell and spent last season at Dundee United, and though he had targeted a move to Australia earlier this summer, he has since announced his retirement from football with the intention of focusing on punditry with BBC Scotland.
Justin Hoyte notched over a century of appearances for Boro after he arrived from Arsenal. The right back featured for us in the top flight and in the Championship. Two league goals for us, including a stunner against Sheffield Wednesday to take us to the Championship's summit, Hoyte returned to London on loan with Millwall, which eventually became permanent. Hoyte was unable to hold down a place in the team at The Den, and made the move to Dagenham & Redbridge.