Middlesbrough earned a hard fought point away to QPR last weekend as they drew 2-2 to move on to 13 points and just one point behind 22nd placed Luton Town.
It has been a difficult start to the season for Jonathan Woodgate as his Middlesbrough side have only secured two wins all season, which has left them struggling in the relegation zone recently.
Woodgate will be using the international break this weekend as a chance to assess his side and to also plan for the coming weeks, knowing that his side will desperately need to start winning to keep chase with those teams outside of the relegation places.
Here are two hot and two not currently at Middlesbrough heading into this week’s international break.
Hot – Dael Fry
22-year-old centre back Dael Fry has cemented his place at the heart of Middlesbrough’s defence, playing every minute of the last 11 league fixtures.
The young defender has put in a number of good performances, despite Boro’s dip in form, and tops Middlesborough’s defensive charts for most blocks and clearances per game this season.
If Woodgate’s side are to improve, then maintaining Fry’s fitness and form will be important to turning their results around.
Hot – Assombalonga’s brace against QPR
Britt Assombalonga’s brace against QPR last weekend helped to secure an important point for Woodgate’s side after they hadn’t scored a goal in four previous games.
Assombalonga is Boro’s top scorer this season with six goals, but he has failed to find consistency throughout the season and failed to score in five appearances prior to last weekend’s draw.
As the joint lowest scorers in the league, Middlesbrough will be hoping that their talisman can gain confidence from his brace against QPR in order to contribute with more goals over the next few matches.
Not – League position
Middlesbrough’s current form is the worst in the league as they have failed to secure a win in nine matches, a run stretching back to September 14th when they won against Reading.
This current run of form has seen them drop down the table and into the relegation places as Woodgate’s side occupy 22nd place in the Championship.
Since their last win, Boro have picked up just four points and with tough upcoming fixtures against Hull, fellow strugglers Barnsley, and Leeds, Woodgate must find a way to stop this terrible run of form to stand any chance of avoiding relegation this season.
Not – Doubt over Ayala’s future
With Daniel Ayala’s contract set to expire at the end of the 2019/20 season, there are a host of Championship clubs interested in the veteran defender.
Ayala has been a key part of Boro’s squad since joining in 2013 and has made over 200 appearances for the club, including 15 appearances for the team this season.
Losing the 29-year-old Spaniard would be a huge loss for Woodgate and his experience would be sorely missed amongst a young squad.