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Assombalonga And Johnson To Start – Predicted Middlesbrough Line-Up For The Game Against Sunderland

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Predicted Middlesbrough Line-up To Face Sunderland In The EFL Championship

Boro got their promotion train back on track with a 3-1 away win at Hull in midweek and now they face a north-east derby against Sunderland at the weekend. It’ll be fascinating to see if there is any immediate improvement in the Black Cats following the sacking of Simon Grayson.

The Hull win came hot on the heels of a 2-0 win at Reading and while the opposition hasn’t been the hottest, results have definitely shown a belated sharpness, which promotion teams need to possess. Regardless of who is in the dugout for Sunderland, their team is weak and Boro now must look to claim a hitherto illusive home win.

Garry Monk insists on 4-2-3-1 and so we’re bound to see that again, most likely with the following personnel:

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Manager: Garry Monk

GK – Darren Randolph

15 starts already for the Republic of Ireland international ‘keeper in the Championship and another one is likely to come here.

RB – Cyrus Christie

This lad could probably play in the Premier League and so his presence is another reason Boro really need to get promotion or else risk losing key players next summer.

CB – Daniel Ayala

Has been solid this season next to Gibson and another starting berth is expected.

Daniel Ayala

CB – Ben Gibson

I still have no idea whether he will leave in January, in June or not at all. The fact is though that he is capable of a World Cup place and will not get that playing for a mid-table Boro. Improvement is needed in the future.

LB – George Friend

Likely to come in now for the troubled Fabio at left-back.

CM – Jonny Howson

Games are coming thick and fast and Boro have plenty to choose from in terms of the midfield two, though the successful midweek combo may stick together.

CM – Grant Leadbitter

Many thought he would leave, but the club captain and former Sunderland man has been in great form.

Stewart Downing

RW – Stewart Downing

A bit like Leadbitter, many thought either he would leave or be usurped by younger players such as Bamford but for now, the former England man is going well.

CAM – Martin Braithwaite

Seems to like this position and has found his scoring boots too.

LW – Marvin Johnson

It’s good that either he or Marcus Tavernier is taking this position in important games now and that should continue.

ST – Britt Assombalonga

Rather like Romelu Lukaku in the Premier League, Assombalonga specialises in taunting lesser teams and can bully the Sunderland defence here.