Saturday, June 10, 2023

Pulis Reckons Middlesbrough’s Squad To Be ‘Too Big’: 3 Players He Might Let Go

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Josh Barker
Middlesbrough FC correspondent for The 4th Official.

After a horrible start to the season, Middlesbrough parted ways with Garry Monk on the 23rd of December 2017.  Boro were very much expected to challenge for an automatic promotion spot this season after spending close to £50 million in the summer. And breaking their transfer record when they signed Britt Assombalonga for £15 million.

However, after 23 games of the season, Garry Monk had only managed to guide Boro to 9th in the league. This was simply not good enough and the Boro chairman decided to sack Monk before Christmas.

The man Gibson has chosen to help revive Middlesbrough’s season is ex-West Brom boss Tony Pulis. Pulis is well known for his ability to manage teams in the Premier League. However, he also has some significant Championship experience as he won promotion to the Premier League with Stoke City back in the 2007/8 season.

The veteran manager has had just two games in charge at Boro and just over a week on the job. However, he is clearly getting through to the players in some way as they managed to come from behind to beat an in-form Preston side in their last match.

Pulis is keen to offload some players in January as he told reporters that ‘The squad is definitely too big. I don’t like big squads’. With this in mind, here are three players who are likely to leave Boro in the summer.

Adam Clayton

Since joining Middlesbrough from Huddersfield Town back in 2014, Adam Clayton has been a mainstay in the Boro side. He was moved down to a centre defensive midfielder position by Aitor Karanka and has since put in some excellent displays there.

He also won Boro player of the season when they were promoted back in the 2015/16 season. Clayton even put in some good displays in the Premier League last season despite Boro not doing well overall.

However, seemingly out of nowhere Garry Monk stopped selecting Clayton for the first team. So, when Monk was sacked and Pulis took charge, many expected Clayton to be given a chance to regain his spot in the starting eleven. This has not been the case though as Clayton has also failed to make both the match day squads that Pulis has picked.

With the January window now open and Clayton still out in the cold with a new boss, it looks very likely he could leave Middlesbrough before the window shuts. A number of clubs are rumoured to be interested in Clayton with Leeds United the current favourites.

Ashley Fletcher

Ashley Fletcher has only been at Middlesbrough since the summer. However, he has not performed well at all. And with a new boss in charge, Fletcher could well be sold just six months after signing for the Teessider’s.

Fletcher was one of 10 signings Garry Monk made in the Summer. His previous club was West Ham and despite scoring just once for West Ham’s senior side, Boro paid a staggering £7 million for him.

With that kind of price tag, you would at least expect Fletcher to chip in with a fair few goals. However, that has not been the case. The forward has made 16 appearances in the league for Boro this season and scored just one goal. So, given Pulis wants to trim the squad, Fletcher is likely to be the one to go.

Adam Forshaw

Adam Forshaw arrived at Middlesbrough in January 2015 from Wigan Athletic. However, he has never really found a regular starting place. It was Aitor Karanka who brought him in. But he preferred the Clayton Leadbitter partnership over Forshaw.

Garry Monk then took charge of Boro and he too wasn’t really a fan. Forshaw played 11 games for Monk this season. But a fair few of those appearances were off the bench. Also, like Clayton, Forshaw has not made the matchday squad for a while. And he has failed to do so for new boss Tony Pulis, which certainly hints towards Forshaw leaving the club in January as his first team chances look very limited this season.

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