Middlesbrough are in desperate need of a win tomorrow when they travel to the bottom of the league Burton Albion. Their last game saw Boro put in a largely poor display vs Wolves. When it was 11 vs 11 Middlesbrough looked completely outclassed. Even when Wolves went down to nine men, Boro still really failed to break them down.
This leaves Boro in 6th place only on goal difference with the teams below putting real pressure on Pulis’s men. So, when Boro take on 24th tomorrow, anything but a win would be unacceptable and could see the Teessider’s drop-down 10th place.
Here is how they might line up.
4-3-3 is very much Boro’s main formation now and it is very likely they will stick with it again tomorrow despite losing on Friday.
GK: Darren Randolph
Despite conceding in the last two games, Randolph put in a great shift vs Wolves. Neither goal was his fault and he made saves just before both went in. He will start tomorrow.
RB: Ryan Shotton
Shotton was very much outclassed vs Wolves and he simply couldn’t handle their wing-backs. However, he will start against a much poorer Burton side.
RCB: Daniel Ayala
Ayala had a decent game vs Wolves with him being Boro’s main focus from most set plays. But he perhaps could have done better with both goals.
LCB: Ben Gibson
Gibson also didn’t have his best 90 minutes vs Wolves. Something he can hopefully put right at Burton.
LB: George Friend
Friend was completely run ragged against Wolves and he has come under fire from many Boro fans. However, with Fabio still out, Friend is Middlesbrough’s only fit left back. He will start tomorrow.
CDM: Adam Clayton
Clayton was a shining light in a poor Boro midfield vs Wolves. He gave 110% and deserved all the praise he received. This performance should mean he keeps his spot at Burton.
CM: Grant Leadbitter
Leadbitter did not have his best game vs Wolves. And he could have easily seen red. But given Howson came on for him and was woeful, Leadbitter will likely start again on Monday.
CM: Muhamed Besic
Besic probably puts in his worst display for Boro in their last game. Despite this, he has proved on countless occasions what an asset he is to Boro and he will keep his place when Boro travel to the bottom of the league.
RW: Adama Traore
Once again Adama Traore was superb in Middlesbrough’s last match. He was Boro’s only real attacking threat; he created countless chances and ran Wolves ragged. Traore also got the assist for Bamford’s goals, once again showing how much his end product has improved.
ST: Patrick Bamford
Bamford spent much of his last game isolated up front against three centre-backs. This limited his chances a lot. However, when he finally saw an opening he scored a simply superb goal showing what great goalscoring form he is in. Unfortunately, for Boro, it came too late vs Wolves. But given Burton have let in 70 goals in the league this season, Bamford could well run them ragged tomorrow.
LW: Jack Harrison
Harrison has yet to start a game at Boro due to Pulis favouring Downing. But last game Downing was simply not good enough and given Boro are very likely to beat Burton anyway, Pulis should use this game to give Harrison a chance.