Middlesbrough host Reading at The Riverside in search of a fifth consecutive win which would put them ahead of leaders Burnley at the top of the table for the first time since the first of April.
Boro will be looking to take advantage of their game in hand against Reading to top The Skybet Championship. However Aitor Karanka will be keen to reiterate the point that games in hand are not points in the bag, as his team squandered their opportunity the last time they were in the same situation with the game against Blackburn in April.
The home side are expected to recall Midfielder Adam Clayton after he started on the bench against Preston due to a dead leg and Aitor Karanka has hinted at further changes to the team due to the heavy schedule. He told The Evening Gazette. “The players are really tired and I need to think a lot about the team, It’s not to think if one player is needing a rest, it’s because I don’t want to take a risk with one injury.” He added “Players who have not been playing for a few months are now playing a lot of games, and one injury can be dangerous as we don’t have time to recover.”
Jordan Rhodes, Stewart Downing are vying for starts whilst James Husband has been recalled from his Huddersfield loan and may feature at some point.
Reading could recall Garath McCleary to the starting line-up following his calf injury which sidelined him for three weeks. Striker Deniss Rakelsis also available following a hamstring injury and was an unused substitute against Birmingham, but Hal Robson Kanu misses out again with a leg injury and Aaron Tshibola still has a hamstring problem.
Five players who wore both shirts: