Middlesbrough-Preston: Garry Monk will ring changes for Boro

Stewart Downing: Was back in Boro squad in midweek
Stewart Downing: Was back in Boro squad in midweek

Gary Monk looks set to ring the changes to his Middlesbrough side for tomorrow’s date with Preston North End.

The Boro boss made nine alterations for the 3-0 win over Scunthorpe in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Goalscorers Fabio, Lewis Baker and Ashley Fletcher all staked claims, as did club captain Grant Leadbitter, who impressed on his first start this term.

So too did second-half sub Stewart Downing, who is free to leave the club.

“Whilst you are still in the building it is your job to put yourself at the forefront of the manager’s mind and work hard,” said Monk. “Stewy’s done that, he played on Tuesday and played very well.

“The opportunity is there for all the players and it’s about making sure when that window closes the squad we have are fully focused and ready for the season ahead.”

But Monk is likely to revert to the bulk of the side beaten 2-1 at Nottingham Forest last weekend.

Monk says he and the team are not feeling any extra pressure after chairman Steve Gibson’s vow to “smash” the league after the club’s relegation from the top flight.

“I think it’s impossible to smash the Championship, it’s so competitive,” he said.

“But what we want to do is to do well – we want to be a successful team and a successful club. That’s the ambition and everyone here has that drive, but it’s still very early days.

“But it goes back to concentrating on every single game, treat it as a separate situation and make sure you are fully committed and focused to that and maximise every single match.”