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The 3 biggest selection concerns Middlesbrough have this weekend



Middlesbrough’s trip to Queens Park Rangers has the makings of a make or break encounter for Jonathan Woodgate’s side.

The Teessiders are without a win in eight games in the league, a run of form which has seen them drop into the relegation zone.

Boro could be without as many as nine players for the trip to Loftus Road, meaning that their already thread-bare squad looks set to stretched even further.

With that, the Middlesbrough boss has a number of big decisions to make ahead of the clash with the Hoops.

Selecting a goalkeeper

Jonathan Woodgate’s team selection woes start between the sticks with the news that he could be without his first and second choice goalkeepers.

Darren Randolph has been out of action for a matter of weeks , leaving Aynsley Pears to deputise.

However speaking to the press ahead of the QPR test, Woodgate revealed that Pears was 50-50 to be fit.

With limited options, it could hand a surprise opportunity to third choice goalkeeper Tomas Meijas who hasn’t played for a senior Middlesbrough team in almost four years.

Nothing like lining up behind an underperforming defence to make your Boro comeback.

Can you get 20 out of 20 on this Boro quiz? Have a go now!

1 of 20

In what year did Steve Gibson complete his takeover of Middlesbrough Football Club?

Replacing George Saville

The midfielder has been a first team regular under Jonathan Woodgate but will miss the next three games through suspension after his red card against Derby County.

There’s numerous options for how Saville can be replaced for Middlesbrough, with Adam Clayton a like-for-like replacement for the former Millwall man.

Clayton has fallen out of favour of late, but could be afforded another chance in the middle of the park.

Other options include moving Jonny Howson or Paddy McNair from their recent positions in defence and relocating them into midfield, although this would mean recalling the likes of Anfernee Dijksteel who hasn’t looked entirely comfortable in recent weeks.

Providing creativity

It’s a problem that has plagued Jonathan Woodgate with a fully fit squad, so imagine how daunting a problem it is to solve with a thread-bare squad?

The injuries suffered by the likes of Ashley Fletcher, Rudy Gestede and Marcus Browne have left Middlesbrough painfully short of attacking options, meaning that Britt Assombalonga, Marcus Tavernier and Marvin Johnson are the only senior options in the attacking third.

Woodgate did move to recall Tyrone O’Neill from his loan spell with Darlington this week, but it remains to be seen whether he or Stephen Walker are deemed to be ready to play a role in Middlesbrough’s Championship campaign.

North East-based EFL writer and aspiring author

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: The 3 biggest selection concerns Middlesbrough have this weekend

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