The two clubs sitting just outside the play-offs come face-to-face as Middlesbrough host Bristol City at the Riverside this weekend.
Boro’s progress was checked with a midweek 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United, a contest in which they also had Grant Leadbitter harshly dismissed following a couple of yellow cards.
He therefore misses out through suspension and is likely to be replaced by Adam Clayton, while striker Britt Assombalonga was similarly hoping for a recall.
That’s because Patrick Bamford is being monitored due to a slight hamstring issue, while Stewart Downing and Mo Besic are also carrying minor knocks. Brazilian full-back Fabio [ankle] is recently back in contention following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
“Hopefully we will get a big crowd, we need the support for the next two home games,” manager Tony Pulis told The Northern Echo. “We need good vocal support from the terraces, or from the seats even, for the lads. The lads have to give them something to cheer about.
“We will need the fans in the next couple of games to set the tone for the game and the pace the players play at. If they can help us I am sure they will, then I am sure it will help what we are trying to do.”
Robins skipper Bailey Wright is again doubtful having already missed out in midweek due to a thigh problem.
Boro’s record of late against their visitors isn’t very good and they have never yet beaten them in six attempts at the Riverside.
However, this is a clash in which they simply have to take something, and it needs to be a victory if they are to force their way back into the play-offs with just a trio of games remaining after this.