Neil Warnock may think that Middlesbrough’s play-off chances are over, but it won’t stop them from pushing until the very end as they host high-flying Watford on Teesside tomorrow afternoon.
You couldn’t ask for a much tougher Easter weekend at this level than a Bournemouth side who when on-song are one of the best outfits in the league and then the Hornets, but that’s exactly what Boro have to come up against.
Boro tried their hearts out against the Cherries on Friday, with Warnock going with a very attacking front four to try and serve it up to the south coast club but it wasn’t enough in the end, with Bournemouth coming out on top as 3-1 victors.
Warnock’s outfit may have better luck in home comforts, but they’ll be missing some key players as they welcome the most in-form side in the whole division right now.
Both Dael Fry and Marcus Tavernier missed the defeat to Bournemouth a few days ago, and Warnock has confirmed that both men will be missing for a number of weeks, whilst Anfernee Dijksteel is missing for the remainder of the campaign having picked up an injury against Swansea last month.
“He’s hurt his calf and will be two or three weeks,” Warnock said of Fry, per Teesside Gazette.
“Same with Tav. Two or three weeks for Tav and all season for Dijksteel.”
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Warnock did not select an out-and-out striker for the Bournemouth clash, and he could give a start to one of Chuba Akpom or Ashley Fletcher tomorrow.
It’s unlikely that Britt Assombalonga will be in the squad again though, with the Boro captain leaving at the end of the season and Warnock admitting that he will be using other players ahead of him.
“I’ve had no problems with him but I’m not going to take him for the sake of taking him to put him on the teamsheet,” Warnock said of the Boro number nine.
“We’ve got one or two other strikers on the teamsheet, I have to respect him as well. I won’t just use him like that. If the others are fit, it’s difficult to see him being involved.”