Tony Pulis has this message to promotion-chasing Middlesbrough squad and reveals big injury concern

Tony Pulis has warned his Middlesbrough players against complacency in the hunt for promotion back to the Premier League.

Friday, 16th March 2018, 11:28 am
Updated Friday, 16th March 2018, 11:30 am
Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis.

Sixth-placed Boro have won their last three Sky Bet Championship games and currently occupy the final play-off spot ahead of the trip to Brentford.

With just nine games remaining, Pulis believes the chase for promotion will go to the wire and has urged his players to maintain a consistent level of performance.

Pulis said: "You have a look at the league and the teams involved and who can still get involved in the shake-up, they will understand and recognise that it will go right to the end.

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"No-one can afford to be complacent and we certainly can't.

"Dean Smith's done a great job there [at Brentford], they're a great footballing team and they've played some outstanding football this season against some very good teams.

"But we have to concentrate on what we do best.

"I'm hoping it will be a good game - it will be open because they play that way - and hopefully know what's needed and we can get a result there."

Brentford are 11th in the Championship, eight points adrift of the play-offs.

Boro No.2 Dimi Konstantopoulos, 39, this week signed a one-year contract extension at the club and Pulis has praised his impact.

"I think he's done a good job behind the scenes," said Pulis.

"The squad is not the 11 players who turn up, you need other players outside of that and they're almost just as important.

"They've got to accept the disappointment of not playing regularly and still give everything when they train.

"I've always had good people around whether they're in the team or not."

Pulis is sweating on the fitness of key centre-back Dani Ayala ahead of the Brentford trip, with the former Stoke City and West Brom boss admitting he will make a last-minute call following his groin injury.

"The only problem we have is Dani Ayala, he’s got a little problem with his groin and hasn’t trained this week," revealed Pulis.

"He’s the main concern - the rest of them will be fine.

"Dani is a big player for us and has done very well. We have players who can come in, but we'll leave it until just before kick-off before we make a decision on him.

Captain Grant Leadbitter, meanwhile, is back in the squad after serving a two-match suspension and shaking off a hamstring injury.

"Grant is fine and ready to go, which is a great addition to the squad having your captain back. He's a good captain and a good person.

"Clayts (Adam Clayton) obviously came in for him and I thought he had his best game for us last weekend so there's a nice dilemma there."