Neil Warnock will be hoping for a big reaction from his team as Middlesbrough welcome Cardiff City to the Riverside Stadium this weekend.
The Teessiders are enduring an inconsistent period of late as they struggle to build the momentum required to push themselves into play-off contention.
After picking up back-to-back wins against Reading and Huddersfield Town Warnock’s side fell to a one-sided 3-1 defeat against Bristol City midweek, meaning that the team will be pushing hard to get back to winning ways against the Welsh side.
Here we take a look at Middlesbrough’s team news and how the side could look.
Middlesbrough will be without Ashley Fletcher for the clash with Cardiff City.
The striker came off clutching his hamstring against Bristol City and according to Neil Warnock the player could be out for two or three weeks as a result.
Elsewhere Marcus Tavernier and Yannick Bolasie are closing in on a return to action but may not be ready for the weekend’s clash with the Bluebirds.
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Predicted Middlesbrough team
While the temptation will surely be there for Neil Warnock to shuffle the pack I’d expect him to keep a pretty similar XI to that which started against Bristol City.
Despite his patchy form of late I expect Marcus Bettinelli to start in goal, while Anfernee Dijlsteel, Dael Fry and Paddy McNair will probably form a back three to combat Cardiff’s powerful attack.
Marc Bola and Darnell Fisher seem to be the only options who Warnock trusts at full-back, but in midfield we could see a reshuffle.
George Saville has found first team opportunities hard to come by of late and so he could come into the side alongside Jonny Howson in midfield, meaning that Sam Morsy could sit this one out.
Neeskens Kebano is likely to start in an advanced midfield role, while the attack could also be altered.
With Ashley Fletcher missing out I’d expect Chuba Akpom to lead the line despite not scoring a goal since the autumn, while I’d like to see Marvin Johnson brought into the side in place of Duncan Watmore who looked to be off the pace against the Robins.