With Luke O’Nien suspended, no new January arrivals as yet, and a number of injuries hinted at by Tony Mowbray in the build-up to today’s game, it seems we’re down to bare bones once more. Without knowing who’s carrying knocks, it’s difficult to predict today’s starting XI – but we’ll give it a crack!
Goalkeeper: Anthony Patterson
I’d like to see an experienced keeper arrive to give Patterson some competition and backup. However, he’s the only viable option in goal at present – and while he’s still got elements of his game to work on, he’s been impressive this season.
Defenders: Trai Hume, Dan Ballard, Danny Batth, Lynden Gooch
Luke O’Nien’s enforced absence is a massive blow for us today, and it’ll be interesting to see how we line up at the back. Boro’s fullbacks are a good attacking threat for them, so we’ll need to be strong down the flanks – but without Alese and Cirkin, it’ll be a tough ask, especially on the left. Mowbray mentioned a central defender being sent for a scan and doubtful for the weekend, but Batth and Ballard have been pictured training so hopefully, the scan outcome was positive for us. There was talk of Huggins being fit again, but I don’t see him coming straight into the starting XI, so I reckon this is the best we can do today. Of course, we could throw Wright in as well and play with three centre-backs, but reading between the lines of Mowbray’s comments regarding Wright this week, I think we’ll be going with a back four.
Midfield: Patrick Roberts, Corry Evans, Dan Neil, Jack Clarke
I think our wide players will be tasked with a bit more defensive responsibility today, and there’s an argument for starting Ba in one of those areas, given his energy. But I think Roberts and Clarke will start out wide, with Evans and Dan Neil once more in the centre of midfield. Could Michut start? Possibly – however, I think it’d be a gamble in a game that is likely to start off at 100 mph – he may be more effective coming off the bench.
Attack: Amad, Ross Stewart
Amad will likely get a free role today, with Ross Stewart leading the line. After not troubling the scoresheet last week, the duo will be looking to get back on the goalscoring trail today.