It’s been a somewhat difficult start to the season for Middlesbrough under Jonathan Woodgate.
With just one win and three draws from their opening six league games of the season, ‘Boro currently lie 18th in the early Championship standings heading into the first international break of the season.
You feel, therefore, Woodgate may be forced to change things up when his side return to action at home to Reading a week on Saturday, and some of those changes could have to come in the form of alterations to the regular selections from the first part of the campaign.
With that in mind, here’s a look at three members of the Middlesbrough side who could be pushing for a more regular spot in the starting XI after the international break.
Admittedly, there has been very little that either Fry or Woodgate have been able to do about the defender’s lack of playing time so far this season.
Having been restricted by injury for the early part of the campaign, ‘Boro will have been relieved to see the solid and reassuring presence of Fry back in the starting lineup away to Bristol City in the final game before the international break.
After coming through that seemingly unscathed, you feel Fry will be keen to make up for lost time when ‘Boro return to action, and considering his influence on his side’s defence, Woodgate will surely be tempted to give him that opportunity.
It’s been a quiet start to the season for Tavernier, who has made just one substitute appearance in the Championship so far.
You do feel, however, that the promising 20-year-old could have a part to play for Woodgate’s side sooner rather than later.
Tavernier has showed in brief first-team exploits for ‘Boro that he has the creative spark and potential to make things happen for this team, and with attack still an area they have yet to fully start firing in, the Middlesbrough youth graduate may soon get the call to see if he can be the one to make a difference.
Another player who could benefit from ‘Boro’s slow start upfront is Rudy Gestede.
It has been a slow start to the campaign for Gestede, but despite being given just nine minutes of playing time in the league so far, the forward has been handed his first call up to the Benin national side since making his move to the Riverside Stadium in January 2017.
If Gestede enjoys an impressive spell away on international duty, then you feel he may have the confidence to push for a return to the ‘Boro lineup on a more regular basis, something he has yet to really experience during his time at the club.