Middlesbrough’s loss to fellow promotion rivals Sheffield United would have been a big blow to the club as they slipped to the sixth spot and are only ahead of seventh-placed Derby County on goal difference. Therefore it is imperative for the club to get a positive result this Sunday at Ewood Park when they take on Blackburn Rovers. Rovers though have a decent record against the Teessiders in the recent past as they have lost just twice in their past seventeen league matches.
Team News: Stewart Downing’s situation has been a big enigma for the club. If the Englishman makes another start, he will trigger an extension with the Boro for another year. That’s why Pulis has been using Downing as a substitute, and he came on in the 25th minute against Sheffield United. Pulis commented on the situation and said (Teessiders Live), ”It’s a situation that is not good for anybody. That’s an issue the club have got with Stewart and that’s ongoing. If you look at the big picture, then you just hope it gets resolved for everybody’s sake.”
Therefore we don’t expect Downing to start but don’t be surprised if he comes on early. Daniel Ayala is suspended after he got sent off in the last game. Aden Flint is ruled out due to injury. Sam McQueen is also a long term absentee at the moment.
Middlesbrough predicted lineup Vs Blackburn Rovers
Darren Randolph is a nailed on starter in goal as the goalkeeper after he shipped in the least amount of goals in the Championship. Dael Fry is likely to start in the centre of the back three. Pulis is facing a mini-crisis at the back as Flint and Ayala will not be available. Therefore we feel the experienced Jon Obi Mikel might drop in as the right centre back in this match. George Friend could occupy the left side of the back three.
Ryan Shotton is likely to play as a right-sided wing-back. Ideally, we would have preferred Downing to play as the left-sided wingback, but given his situation, we are going in with Marcus Tavernier. Muhamed Besic should start in the middle, and his job would be to keep things tight and break up opposition’s play. He is likely to be partnered by George Saville.
Jonny Howson is expected to start in an advanced role on the left side. Lewis Wing is set to play on the right side of the midfield.
West Ham loanee Jordan Hugill is the favourite to start as the man up front.
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