After losing 1-2 to Sheffield United in their last league fixture, Middlesbrough’s hopes of earning a playoff spot took a severe blow. However, they still have time and are due to face Bristol City at the Riverside Stadium this weekend wherein they must try to bag all three points.
Middlesbrough Team News
Grant Leadbitter was shown the red card at the Bramall Lane and he is set to miss the clash against Bristol City this weekend. Rudy Gestede remains out for the rest of the season owing to his broken ankle but apart from these couple of players missing, Pulis has every other key player available in his arsenal.
Here is how we expect Pulis to roll out his starting line-up against Lee Johnson’s side.
Darren Randolph has been the undisputed first choice custodian for Boro this season and he has been quite decent between the sticks. The 30-year-old has notched up 15 clean sheets from 42 league appearances and has made 2.14 saves per game on an average.
Ben Gibson and Ben Ayala are expected to be placed in the central defence yet again. Ayala found the back of the net against Sheffield United and there is no denying that he and Gibson have engineered a strong partnership at the back. The duo has to be on their toes this weekend.
Ryan Shotton has knit a fine balance between his defensive duties and attacking endeavours and he is anticipated to get the nod to start from the right-back slot once again. Meanwhile, George Friend is expected to take up the left-back position to showcase his calibre.
The absence of Leadbitter will leave a substantial void and in the upcoming fixture, Pulis is expected to chalk Adam Clayton in the middle of the park. He is a strong and experienced midfielder and should do a fine job to shield his side’s back line.
Muhamed Besic and Jonny Howson have been starting regularly under the tutelage of the former West Bromwich Albion manager and are expected to start against the Robins in midfield.
Stewart Downing has been effective from the left-wing and he is set to start once again. With Downing set to operate from the left-wing, we expect Adama Traore to keep his place on the right-wing.
It would make a lot of sense if Britt Assombalonga is given the chance to start this weekend. Although Patrick Bamford has been decent up front, Pulis should rotate his strikers to get the best out of them.
Statistics Credits: Squawka