‘Gave us a spark’ – Middlesbrough boss has his say on two debutants in Reading win
Middlesbrough won their third game in a row in stoppage time, thanks to Matt Crooks’ 95th minute header against Reading at the weekend.
Middlesbrough now sit in sixth position in the table and are just seven points off a place in an automatic spot.
Their ultimate goal is achieving a place in the top six come the end of the campaign and have looked to the January transfer window to bring in reinforcements to help them to do just that.
So far in the window they have made four signings. Riley McGree and Caolan Boyd-Munce signed on permanent deals from Charlotte FC and Birmingham City.
Whilst they have brought in Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun and Brighton and Hove Albion forward Aaron Connolly on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
McGree couldn’t get registered in time to make his Boro debut, whilst Boyd-Munce has been on U23 duty of late. But both Balogun and Connolly both played a part in Boro’s win at the weekend.
Connolly started the game against Reading, partnering Andraz Sporar up front. The Irishman was replaced by Balogun with just over 20 minutes to go.
Speaking after the victory to Teesside Live, manager Chris Wilder gave his verdict on the duo’s debuts.
“I thought the contribution of the forwards was good. We gambled, we changed the shape a couple of times,” he said.
“Aaron looked bright in the time he was on the pitch and he will get better.
“Both he and Flo got really good receptions from the punters. And Flo, Josh and Duncan gave us a spark to try and get back in.”
Balogun and Connolly will have a week to make an impression on Wilder, as Boro’s next game is the televised clash with third-placed Blackburn Rovers next Monday.
Sporar is likely to lead the line alongside one of the two, although Duncan Watmore could also be in contention against Tony Mowbray’s side.