Middlesbrough will face off against Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday evening looking to consolidate their position at the top of the English Championship standings. The Boro claimed a hard-fought victory in the League Cup against Crystal Palace in midweek which should give them a lot of momentum going into this clash.
Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis will go up against his former employers with his strongest team who might line up in a 4-3-3 formation this weekend.
4-3-3 Middlesbrough Predicted Lineup To Face Stoke City
Darren Randolph is expected to resume his shot-stopping duties ahead of Dimitrios Konstantopoulos who had started against the Eagles on Thursday night. The Republic of Ireland shot-stopper has conceded two goals in his last three starts for the Boro.
The defensive duo of Dael Fry and Aden Flint might start at the centre of Tony Pulis’ backline in the absence of Daniel Ayala. The Spaniard is suspended for this encounter after he had picked up his fifth booking of this campaign during the 1-1 stalemate with Derby County last weekend. George Friend is expected to start as the left-back while Ryan Shotton, who is nearing a return from his knee problem, could recover in time to start on the right side of the Middlesbrough defence.
The Boro midfield could be comprised of Adam Clayton, who will operate as the defensive lynchpin while Lewis Wing and Jonny Howson look to be more adventurous and inventive ahead of him. All three of them have been impressive at times this season but they need to be more consistent with their performances on the pitch and this match against the Potters could serve as the ideal opportunity to do precisely that.
Pulis’ front three could see the likes of Stewart Downing, Martin Braithwaite, and Britt Assombalonga feature on Saturday against a Stoke City defence that has conceded 20 goals in 15 league matches this term. Sam McQueen has been ruled out of this league match after being stretchered off on Thursday due to a severe knee injury.
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