, A change in goal: Middlesbrough team news and predicted XI to face Stoke City

A change in goal: Middlesbrough team news and predicted XI to face Stoke City

Middlesbrough take on a dejected and out of form Stoke City side at the Bet365 Stadium this afternoon.

Middlesbrough have been incredibly inconsistent all season and this, combined with a number of high profile injuries has meant their league position has suffered as a result.

The Teessiders find themselves in the bottom half of the table in 13th, and are now closer to the relegation zone than the Championship top six. But with 13 games left to play, they will feel a run of results can change their fortunes.

On paper, a game against a Stoke City side battling relegation looks to be a perfect way to get back to winning ways. To help them they will be able to call upon striker Emmanuel Latte Lath who came on as a sub against Plymouth Argyle last weekend.

Elsewhere, head coach Michael Carrick stated a fortnight ago that winger Isaiah Jones was two weeks away from a return and so he could be fit enough for the bench.

Defenders Tommy Smith and Darragh Lenihan are out for the season and won’t feature. Dael Fry has also missed the past couple of games and there has been no update on his fitness since.

First-choice midfield duo Hayden Hackney and Jonny Howson are said to be ‘out for a period of time’ and aren’t likely to feature later today.

One player who is back in contention is goalkeeper Seny Dieng. The Senegalese international was called up to Africa Cup of Nations but returned to Middlesbrough after an injury. He has been on the bench in recent weeks and could replace Tom Glover between the sticks today.

Predicted XI

Seny Dieng (GK)

Luke Ayling

Rav van den Berg

Paddy McNair

Lukas Engel

Dan Barlaser

Lewis O’Brien

Marcus Forss

Finn Azaz

Riley McGree

Emmanuel Latte Lath

After poor showings against Plymouth Argyle from Luke Thomas, Sammy Silvera and Tom Glover last time out, the trio could be replaced by Lukas Engel, Latte Lath and Dieng.

Luke Ayling was another who could be swapped out for Anfernee Dijksteel after a below bar performance against the Pilgrims, although we expect him to get the nod here.

If Jones is fit to play, he will play. The winger is Boro’s best source of creativity and directness and as Middlesbrough supporters have seen in recent weeks, their form has taken a dip without him in their side.

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