Middlesbrough FC news: Defender could make Bristol City debut against Boro plus Millwall boss backs George Saville

Experienced centre-back Ashley Williams could make his Bristol City debut this weekend when Middlesbrough face the Robins at Ashton Gate.

Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th August 2019, 06:05 am
Defender Ashley Williams made 33 Championship appearances during a loan spell at Stoke last season.

Williams, 35, was released by Everton earlier this summer after making 33 Championship appearances during a loan spell at Stoke last season.

The Welsh defender, who has won 86 caps for his country, signed for Lee Johnson’s side last week but wasn’t available for City’s 3-1 win over Hull.

But with several defensive players out injured, including Tomas Kalas, Jay Dasilva and Bailey Wright, Williams could be handed his first Robins start against Boro on Saturday.

"I still think he's got a couple of years in him. Honestly," Johnson told Bristol Live when asked about Williams.

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"He's got the best body fat percentage - he's been a vegan for six months, which is interesting. He's dropped about 10kg in weight from where he was last year at Stoke. So that's another good sign.

"Of course the feet slow up a little bit as time goes on, but you hope that the experience and new way of coaching gives him that lease of life.”

Millwall boss backs George Saville – Back at the Riverside, Middlesbrough midfielder Saville will be hoping to kick on this season after a frustrating 12 months on Teesside.

The Northern Ireland international joined Boro from Millwall for a reported £7million last season but has struggled to nail down a regular starting spot since the move.

Saville lined up against his former club during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the Lions and his former boss, Neil Harris, has backed the player to improve under Jonathan Woodgate.

"George is a super player,” said Harris after the game.

"You probably haven't seen the best of him up here yet but given a run in the team - and I am not trying to pick Jonathan's team - he is a top Championship player and a goalscorer and I am just pleased he didn't get on the score sheet.”

The 26-year-old, who scored 10 league goals for Millwall in the 2017/18 season, was played in different positions under Tony Pulis last season, yet Woodgate has made it clear he sees Saville as an attacking midfielder.