Middlesbrough put on a shambolic second-half display in their last game vs Derby County which saw them lose 3-0. This means that Boro have now won just one game against sides in the top 15 of the Championship this season. This is an awful record that Boro must eradicate if they are to challenge for promotion.
Middlesbrough have the chance to do so this weekend when they take on 5th place Bristol City. A win for Boro is necessary as they are slowly slipping away from the playoffs.
Here is how they might line up.
This is clearly Monk’s go to formation this season and given the personal he plays he is likely to stick with it again on Saturday.
GK: Darren Randolph
Randolph made an error leading to Derby’s third goal of the day last week. However, he is still a top-class keeper and his great saves far out way his mistakes, he will start.
RB: Cyrus Christie
In an awful second-half display, Christie was one of the least terrible players on the pitch. He has been solid all season and will start again vs Bristol.
RCB: Dael Fry
Daniel Ayala was sent off in Boro’s last game which capped off a truly awful display. So, Monk is likely going to call upon Fry to replace Ayala this weekend as the only other alternative is Ryan Shotton who has not been great since signing for Middlesbrough.
LCB: Ben Gibson
The Gibson Fry partnership was one Boro had some success with earlier in the season. So, Monk will be hoping the pair can keep Bristol City’s Bobby Reid quiet this weekend.
Fabio was one of few players who didn’t look completely awful in Middlesbrough’s defeat to Derby. The Brazilian constantly puts in good displays and will play vs Bristol unless injured beforehand.
CDM: Jonny Howson
Adam Clayton and Adam Forshaw started in CDM for Boro vs Derby and it’s safe to say both did not have the best day at the office. So, it is likely Monk will recall Howson who has served his one-match ban.
CDM: Grant Leadbitter
If Howson is to return to the starting eleven it’s likely that Leadbitter will partner him in the centre of the park as the pair are forming quite the partnership this season. And most of Boro’s wins in recent games have come when Leadbitter and Howson have started together.
RM: Stewart Downing
Downing was probably Boro’s best player vs Derby. Couple this with the fact his performances have been much better this season he is likely to start on Saturday.
CAM: Martin Braithwaite
Braithwaite wasn’t great vs Derby. But Boro know what he is capable of and will hope he is back to his best this weekend when Boro faces a tough Bristol City test.
LM: Marvin Johnson
Monk seems to favour Johnson despite him not being great for some time now. So, Monk is likely to select him again at the weekend. Even though the likes of Adama Traore and Patrick Bamford would probably do a better job.
ST: Britt Assombalonga
Britt missed several key chances vs Derby which could have made the game very different. Boro will be hoping he is back to his best this weekend. He will start as he is Boro’s top scorer this season with 11 goals.