The international break is over and Middlesbrough will be aiming to solidify their position in the play-off spots once again. Boro are currently placed 6th with 62 points from 38 games.
Tony Pulis and his troops are due to host table-toppers, Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow in what promises to be a cracking game of football between two quality sides.
Rudy Gestede is nursing his fractured ankle and is out of the contention to feature. However, Daniel Ayala is expected to be fit for the upcoming fixture after recovering from a groin injury.
Darren Randolph is expected to keep his place between the sticks for the Smoggies. The 30-year-old has collected 14 clean sheets from 38 appearances in the Championship and has made 2.16 saves per game on an average.
Middlesbrough’s back line has been operating well this season and after the appointment of Pulis, they have certainly bettered their credentials. Against the Wolves, we anticipate seeing the central defensive pair comprising of Daniel Ayala and Ben Gibson at the heart of their defence.
George Friend is expected to operate as the left-back once again. At the right-back slot, we expect Ryan Shotton to start. He’s done his defensive and offensive duties well.
Instead of Jonny Howson, we expect Pulis to pick Grant Leadbitter against Espirito Santo’s men. Leadbitter is more than a decent midfielder and should do a good job in the ipcoming fixture, with Adam Clayton set to operate from a deeper position in the midfield to shield the back line.
Muhamed Besic has made a notable impact after his loan move from Everton in the January transfer window and is expected to start.
Patrick Bamford is expected to start up front. The 24-year-old has smashed in 9 goals in 32 appearances in the Championship so far this season and will be aiming to get his goal tally to the double figures.
Adama Traore is likely to keep his place on the right-wing while Stewart Downing is expected to start on the opposite flank.
Boro are just a point above seventh placed Bristol and after the draw against Brentford before the international break, they’ll want to return to winning ways in their quest for promotion back to the Premier League.
Statistics Credits: WhoScored & Squawka