Still in the search for their first win in the 2019-20 Championship campaign, Middlesbrough will host Wigan Athletic at the Riverside Stadium on Tuesday in their fourth league outing.
The Smoggies have had a slow start to their new season. Their draw with Luton Town in the opening fixture was followed by a loss against Brentford.
Jonathan Woodgate’s side were then eliminated from the Carabao Cup by Crewe Alexandra, and were subsequently beaten 1-0 by Blackburn Rovers last weekend.
It goes without saying that Boro are already under a lot of pressure. They need to grab a win, and must start churning out the right performances if they are to make a serious surge for promotion this season.
Middlesbrough Team News
Dael Fry, who was sidelined since the end of last season with a hamstring injury, returned to action on Friday by playing sixty minutes for Middlesbrough’s Under-23 side.
However, Fry might not be rushed into the Middlesbrough lineup by Woodgate. Meanwhile, Hayden Coulsen is out with a thigh injury and could be out until the next international break.
Predicted Middlesbrough Lineup vs Wigan Athletic (4-3-3)
Ryan Shotton and Daniel Ayala could feature as the central defensive pairing once again. Both of them were solid at the back against Rovers, making some important blocks, and will aim to keep a cleansheet against the Latics.
Anfernee Dijksteel might get the nod to start as the right-back, while George Friend should keep his place in the left-back position. Friend’s experience and industry down the left will be crucial for Boro if he starts.
Darren Randolph is the side’s first-choice custodian, and he should start once again.
Adam Clayton might get the nod to start in the central midfield to cushion the backline of his side. The 30-year-old has also managed one key pass a game so far this season, and might have a role to play in the transitional phases.
Jonny Howson and George Saville should complete the midfield. The two need to make driving runs forward, show good work ethic, and provide something for the attackers to work with.
Marvin Johnson and Ashley Fletcher should keep their place on the wings, although they will need to improve after being pretty ineffective against Blackburn last time.
Britt Assombalonga could get the nod to start up top. Boro have scored just thrice so far in the league, and need to step up in the goal-scoring department if they are to progress this season.