Middlesbrough boss expecting Blackburn players to step up in Brereton Diaz’s absence
Middlesbrough manager Chris Wilder was asked about Blackburn Rovers’ top scorer Ben Brereton Diaz by Teesside Live, with the Chilean set to miss their next two games due to being called up on international duty.
Middlesbrough take on Blackburn this evening in the televised clash and will be hoping to secure a spot in the top six when the final whistle blows.
Nothing other than a win would see them do that, as they reside in seventh and two points off sixth placed Huddersfield Town.
Blackburn on the other hand are in third and a draw or a win would see them into an automatic promotion place above Bournemouth. However after tonight’s game, the side they would leapfrog, Fulham, would have a game in hand on Tony Mowbray’s side.
Rovers will need to do this without their top scorer Ben Brereton Diaz. In 27 games so far this season he has 20 goals and one assist and is second in the top scorer charts only behind Fulham’s Aleksander Mitrovic who has 27.
But without their talisman, Boro boss Chris Wilder believes the rest of Blackburn’s players will step up in his absence.
“If I had a 20-goal striker within my ranks and we lost him, I would say that was going to hurt us,” he said.
“Of course, he’d rather have him in than not, but it’s how you deal with certain situations leading up to the game and in the next 20 games for various reasons.
“I’d be into my players telling them ‘everyone thinks we’re a one-man team so we need to show everyone that we’re not and need to work a little bit harder’.
“If one person misses out through injury or suspension, or whatever it might be, we’ve got to prove that the sum of all parts is good enough to win games of football.
“It’s all about how you react and I’m sure they’ll come flying out of the traps on Monday night.”
Sam Gallagher is the most likely man to deputise with Brereton Diaz’s out of action.
Elsewhere, Blackburn will be without Dylan Markanday, who picked up a hamstring injury on his debut against Hull last time out.
Middlesbrough are without long-term absentees Darnell Fisher, Marcus Browne, Sammy Ameobi and Marc Bola. Whilst they will not be able to call upon the services of James Lea Siliki and Riley McGree who are away on international duty with Cameroon in AFCON and Australia respectively.