Middlesbrough will travel to the Bet365 Stadium this weekend, as they prepare to take on Mark Hughes’ Stoke City on Saturday in the matchweek 27 of the Premier League.
Aitor Karanka’s team are languishing in the 17th position in the league standings and are fighting for survival after a 1-0 loss to fellow strugglers Crystal Palace last weekend. Given how close the teams are at the bottom of the table, a win is of paramount importance for Middlesbrough, but Stoke at home could prove to be a difficult prospect to deal with.
The last time the two teams met, the match ended in a 1-1 stalemate, but Boro will be hoping to return home with all the three points from the return fixture. Karanka will be given a boost by the return of Calum Chambers, who is expected to be fit for Saturday, while captain George Friend may also be fit but will probably not risked, leaving Antonio Barragan as the only unavailable player for Middlesbrough.
Middlesborough predicted line-up to face Stoke City:
Victor Valdes (GK)
The former Barcelona man has been very impressive in the goal for Boro this season and is one of the first few names on the teamsheet. He will be the man in goal on Saturday.
Calum Chambers (RB)
After nursing a foot injury, Chambers is expected to be fit for the encounter against Stoke. If available, he is the undisputed starter at right-back position.
Bernardo Espinosa (CB)
The 27-year old has become a regular starter in recent weeks with Antonio Barragan out due to injury. Expect him to start once again at the Bet365 Stadium.
Ben Gibson (CB)
The Englishman has been absolutely fabulous at the back for Middlesbrough and has played all their league games this season. He will be key for them against Stoke.
The Brazilian has been a good outlet going forward from the left-side of the defence for Aitor Karanka. And with Chambers returning, he should go back to his natural left-back position in the coming weekend.
Adam Clayton (CM)
The 28-year old midfielder signed a new contract with the club recently. Will like to celebrate the new deal with a strong showing in the middle of the park.
Adam Forshaw (CM)
The 25-year old has featured in all the league games for Middlesbrough this season and has the complete trust of the manager. He will once again feature from the get-go against the Potters.
Martin De Roon (CM)
And it will be De Roon who will complete the midfield trio for Boro. He has also been an ever-present in the middle of the park for Karanka and we expect it to stay the same.
Adama Traore (RW)
The explosive winger has earned rave reviews for his displays on the wings. Having missed out from the starting XI against Crystal Palace, we expect him to be recalled on Saturday.
Gaston Ramirez (LW)
The Uruguayan has blown hot and cold over the course of the season, but his presence will be important for Karanka and Middlesbrough in the attacking third. He could start out wide on the left-side against Stoke.
Rudy Gestede (ST)
Alvaro Negredo was whisked off at half-time against Palace due to his ineffective display. And we expect the man who replaced him last weekend, Gestede, to feature from the start this weekend.