In their last game, Middlesbrough showed a scrappy resilience when they beat Birmingham City 1-0. It was by no means Boro’s best 90 minutes. But they did show that steal teams need to pick up continuous wins in the Championship.
Middlesbrough are now unbeaten in four league games and have crept into the playoffs. They will be looking to continue this good form when they take on a struggling Barnsley this Saturday. A win for Middlesbrough could possibly take them 5th. While a loss could see them move down to 9th.
Here is how they might line up.
Since switching to a three in midfield Boro have looked a much stronger side and do look to have maybe finally clicked. So, it is likely Pulis will keep the same system this weekend.
GK: Darren Randolph
Randolph made several important saves on his return to Birmingham City to make sure Boro went away with all three points. He will keep his place vs Barnsley.
RB: Ryan Shotton
Shotton, unsurprisingly, had another solid game at right back. He was also credited with the assist for Boro’s only goal of the game. Expect him to start on Saturday.
RCB: Daniel Ayala
Ayala had a superb game vs Birmingham. He made a number of excellent tackles. And he was throwing his body in front of everything. The Spaniard will retain his spot on Saturday.
LCB: Ben Gibson
Gibson also had what was probably one of his best 90 minutes this season. Like Ayala, he made a number of good tackles and he, like Ayala, will keep his place this weekend.
LB: George Friend
Friend also played a key role in keeping a clean sheet vs Birmingham. Also, given Fabio is still yet to make an appearance under Pulis, Friend is the only fit left back so he will start vs Barnsley.
CDM: Muhamed Besic
Besic has certainly been the unsung hero of Boro’s latest promotion charge. He controls the game, makes great tackles and can pass the ball very well. Therefore, he will start vs Barnsley.
CM: Adam Clayton
Clayton finished his first 90 minutes for Middlesbrough for some time on Tuesday night. He gave a well-rounded display. And given Leadbitter is still suspended Clayton will keep his place for the next game.
CM: Jonny Howson
Howson will also keep his place in the starting XI vs Barnsley as with Leadbitter out there are not really any other viable centre mid options.
RW: Adama Traore
Traore had one of his quieter games last time out. However, it was his cross that led to the Bamford goal. He will start again on Saturday.
ST: Patrick Bamford
Bamford once again proved he has his confidence back and is becoming the old Bamford. As he has now scored seven goals in four games. With his latest coming against Birmingham on Tuesday.
LW: Stewart Downing
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