Middlesbrough suffered a set back at home to Aston Villa on Saturday evening, and face a Blackburn Rovers side who impressively beat Sheffield Wednesday by four goals to two earlier that day.

Tony Pulis may ring the changes for the visit of Blackburn, with the hope that Middlesbrough bounce back and keep pace with the teams at the top having slumped to fourth, and five points off top spot.

Here are three suggested changes for Saturday’s game:

Ryan Shotton in for Dael Fry

Fry has been brilliant at right-back in recent weeks, but he was exposed by the pace and trickery of Yannick Bolasie against Aston Villa.

A more natural full-back could come into the equation, with Shotton returning from injury after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Dani Ayala in for Danny Batth

Although Batth has excelled since the game against Sheffield Wednesday in Ayala’s absence, he looked out of place against Villa, and this could prompt Pulis into making a change at centre-back.

Ayala could deal more comfortably with Rovers striker Danny Graham, who scored a hat-trick against the Owls last weekend.

Martin Braithwaite in for Mo Besic

Besic played arguably his worst game in a Middlesbrough shirt since joining on loan from Everton in the summer. The loanee was overrun in midfield against Villa, and wasn’t able to conduct proceedings the way he likes to.

However, Braithwaite wouldn’t play in a central-midfield role, but take his place out wide, with Marcus Tavernier coming inside to dictate play in behind the striker like he did to good effect against Crystal Palace in the Carabao Cup.


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Lifelong Boro fan - from the highs of watching Juninho and the Carling Cup victory, to the lows of Gordon Strachan and Lee Dong Gook

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