Middlesbrough will go on to the offensive as they attempt to produce a barnstorming finish to the season. Their manager, Gareth Southgate, sat down with his players over Christmas to thrash out the way forward, and emerged determined to provide the kind of entertainment he set as his aim on replacing Steve McClaren.
As Boro head into tonight's FA Cup third-round replay against Hull City, Southgate said, "The players want to play attacking football, I do and the fans want to see it. It is not going to flow freely every time, but anybody who has seen our last three games knows we have created plenty of chances and we have scored seven goals. To have got four of those in the last two games away from home is pleasing."
The club captain, George Boateng, is likely to miss tonight's game after suffering a knee injury in the Premiership win at Charlton on Saturday.
Chris Riggott and Stuart Parnaby are also missing, also with knee injuries, while Robert Huth is facing a lengthy spell out with a stress fracture of the foot.
On the transfer front, Southgate, who is attempting to extend the defender Abel Xavier's stay on Teesside despite speculation that he could leave, hopes to tie up a move for the Pohang Steelers South Korean international striker Lee Dong Gook, 27, within days.Reuse content