Middlesbrough striker Britt Assombalonga is considered a ‘big part’ of Tony Pulis’ plans, after scoring a crucial brace in the 3-2 away win at West Brom on Saturday.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Middlesbrough’s trip to Newport County in the FA Cup, Boro boss Tony Pulis highlighted the importance of striker Britt Assombalonga.

The DR Congo international came off the bench with his side down 2-1, and turned the game on its head, scoring in the 75th and 84th minute to complete the comeback, with the Teessiders coming out 3-2 winners.

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When asked about Assombalonga’s involvement in the game, Pulis was full of praise, but quick to point out that he could have had more.

“He should have got a hat-trick!” he said.

“That’s what I said to him afterwards and that nearly killed him! But Britt’s part of the group now and he’s a big part of the group.”

He was linked with a move away in the January transfer window, with the likes of Bristol City and Blackburn Rovers reportedly tracking the striker. However, Boro fans will now be glad he stayed at the club beyond the deadline, providing the decisive goals in an important win against a promotion-chasing Championship rival.

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Five of Assombalonga’s last nine Championship goals have come when Jordan Hugill has also been on the pitch alongside him, and many Boro fans have called for the duo should play from the off as a pair.

Pulis was also very complimentary of Hugill after the game at West Brom.

“Speaking to their two centre-halves I don’t think they enjoyed Jordan,” he said.

“I thought Hugill was very good up front, he’s an almost old-fashioned centre-forward who never stops and he caused Dawson and Hegazi, who are two beasts of defenders, all sorts of problems all day.”

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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