Middlesbrough face a difficult test as they welcome Brentford to the Riverside Stadium this weekend.
The Teessiders endured a tough January after losing four of their seven matches in all competitions – a run of form that has seen them fall off the pace slightly in their push for the play-offs.
But after securing a 0-0 draw with Norwich City last week they’ll certainly be hoping to follow it up with a good result against the Bees.
Thomas Frank’s side are in wonderful form at the moment and find themselves in second position in the table, but Neil Warnock will certainly be hopeful of pulling off a surprise result against Brentford.
So what side will Warnock select for this one? Phil Spencer takes a look…
While the addition of new players such as Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Neeskens Kebano will surely be tempting as options from the start, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Neil Warnock ease them into the fold.
Part of Middlesbrough’s relative success this term has been the consistency of the line-up and that could be jeopardised if too many changes after made to the team.
After all, cohesion is a massive part of what makes the Teessiders tick.
Darnell Fisher and Yannick Bolasie both started against Norwich City and performed well, so it’s likely that they’ll retain their spot in the starting XI.
For Mendez-Laing his lack of fitness will probably mean that he’ll be used off the bench for a few weeks, while Kebano will be competing with the likes of Marvin Johnson and Duncan Watmore for his spot in the team.
Dael Fry is touch-and-go to be involved against the Bees, so with Neil Warnock hinting at Grant Hall deputising there’s every chance that he will slot into the side’s back line.
Kebano is a player who can play in central midfield, but given the cohesion between Jonny Howson, Sam Morsy and George Saville I’d be reluctant to break that trio up – particularly against a team as good as Brentford.
I’d imagine that Bolasie could slot into his role on the left flank, while Watmore deserves an opportunity to impress coming from the right.
In attack I’ve gone with Britt Assombalonga.
The striker was the subject of plenty of deadline day speculation, but after sticking around the hope is that he’ll get his head down and lead by example as club captain.