Middlesbrough will head to the Ewood Park tomorrow in search of their first victory in the 2019-20 Championship campaign as they are scheduled to lock horns with Blackburn Rovers.
Following their draw with Luton Town and loss at the hands of Brentford, the Smoggies were knocked out of the Carabao Cup earlier this week and it goes without saying that they are short on confidence at the moment.
Jonathan Woodgate has a strong squad to choose from but they are lacking form at the moment, something which has to cease if Boro are to have a chance to make a promotion bid this season.
Middlesbrough Team News
Rudy Gestede has got bilateral hamstring tightness and is expected to sit out this weekend. Besides, Hayden Coulson also picked up a knock and Woodgate might refrain from using him.
However, George Friend returned to action against Crewe Alexandra following an injury to his thigh muscle and fellow defender Dael Fry is also progressing nicely and could be available soon.
Predicted Middlesbrough Lineup To Face Blackburn Rovers (4-3-3)
Aynsley Pears was stationed between the sticks in the midweek fixture but he is set to be replaced by Darren Randolph this weekend against the Rovers.
Ryan Shotton and Daniel Ayala are expected to get the nod to start in central defence. Both of them were far from convincing against Brentford last weekend and have to improve their cohesiveness in the coming games.
Friend and Jonathan Howson could start as the full-backs. The comeback of Friend would be a huge boost for Boro as his leadership and experience could be beneficial in the coming weeks as they look to get in shape for the arduous season ahead.
We might see the midfield trio of Lewis Wing, Paddy McNair and Adam Clayton being pencilled in the starting XI by Woodgate. Clayton will sit deep, if he starts, and will look to intercept the attacking endeavours of the opposition.
Meanwhile, McNair and Wing will shoulder the responsibility of making forward runs and to distribute the ball to the attackers. They have to showcase immense work-ethic and need to ask questions of Rovers’ defence regularly.
Marvin Johnson and Ashley Fletcher would be the ideal candidates to start on the wings and will be expected to muster a good number of chances for the striker.
Britt Assombalonga is expected to spearhead the attack. His hold up play will be as important as his finishing prowess which Woodgate will hope is at its peak.