Middlesbrough fans have grown tired of Tony Pulis’ negative team selections at points this season, but he has the perfect opportunity to transform his team’s attack when League One Peterborough United visit the Riverside Stadium on Saturday in the third round of the FA Cup.
Well, Pulis has never been known as an openly attacking manager, and it has been no different since he took charge of Boro, as he looks to grind out the results in the Championship needed to take the Teesside outfit back to the Premier League this term.
The 60-year-old opted to go with a 4-5-1 formation – something that hasn’t been uncommon on their own patch either – for the 1-1 draw against Derby County at the Pride Park Stadium last weekend, with five central midfielders lining up across the middle of the park.
The former West Brom boss does have the attacking players available in his squad to liven up proceedings and perhaps lead him to change his ways in the future, and he must see the light and experiment with an exciting front three against the Posh.
Well, Jordan Hugill and Britt Assombalonga have largely been preferred up top this term with Rudy Gestede struggling with injury issues, and it is the Benin international who should be given the rare opportunity to spearhead the attack at the weekend.
The 30-year-old would have the chance to not only build his fitness back up, but also to get some confidence in front of goal against a defence that shouldn’t be as strong as the ones he usually faces in the Championship each week.
Out wide, Rajiv van La Parra should be in line to make his debut having joined on loan from Huddersfield Town and will bring some pace and excitement on the flank, while 19-year-old Marcus Tavernier needs to start on the opposite side.
Despite providing three goals and one assist in just 364 Championship minutes, the teenager has found game time hard to come by under Pulis, who needs to unleash him from the start against Steve Evans’ men to finally excite the Riverside Stadium faithful.
Pl>ymaker FC’s Theo Ogden made the 100 mile trip from Bolton to Hull only to see his side demolished 6-0 by the Tigers. Check out his reaction in the video below…