Following their shock Carabao Cup defeat at the hands of League Two Crewe Alexandra on Tuesday night, Middlesbrough return to league action on Saturday afternoon, when they travel to Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers.
Things haven’t been much better in the league for ‘Boro season so far this either, with Jonathan Woodgate’s side picking up just a single point from their opening two league games of the season, drawing with Luton Town on the opening day of the season before losing to Brentford last weekend.
You feel therefore, that the Middlesbrough boss will be determined to pick up all three points against a side who have lost both of their Championship matches this season.
As a result, it seems as though it could be a strong lineup that Woodgate names in Lancashire on Saturday, and we’ve taken a look at who we think will feature for ‘Boro at Ewood Park here.
With the vast majority of the ten changes that Woodgate made to his side for the League Cup defeat to Crewe failing to impress, you imagine a number of those will be cancelled out for the trip to Ewood Park.
In goal, Darren Randolph was almost certainly set to return regardless of the performance in midweek, and should again be between the posts for Woodgate’s side, as he has been throughout the early stages of the league season.
In front of him, with Dael Fry still not ready to return from injury, we anticipate that Daniel Ayala and Ryan Shotton will return in the centre of defence, having played there in the opening two league games of the season.
At left-back, a knock to Hayden Coulson means that club captain George Friend could take up that role, while summer signing Anfernee Dijksteel could make his league debut for the club at right-back.
With Dijksteel coming in, that could see Jonny Howson return to a more natural midfield role alongside Paddy McNair and Lewis Wing, giving Adam Clayton – the only man to play in both league and cup already this week for ‘Boro – a break.
Upfront, with Rudy Gestede missing out against his former club with a groin strain, the established league attacking trio of Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher and Marvin Johnson could all return after missing out in midweek, and they may fancy their chances against a Blackburn defence that seems to have a number of injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game.