Middlesbrough FC news: Reading boss singles out TWO Boro players as Paddy McNair opens up
Reading manager Jose Gomes is expecting a different test from Middlesbrough this weekend compared to the Royals’ last visit to the Riverside in April.
Goals from Lewis Wing and Britt Assombalonga secured a 2-1 win for Tony Pulis’ Boro side when the two clubs last faced each other in the Championship five months ago.
A lot has changed on Teesside since then and, ahead of Saturday’s meeting, Gomes highlighted Boro’s attacking qualities, in particular forwards Assombalonga and Ashley Fletcher.
“We must expect a tough game,” said Gomes in his pre-match press conference. “They try to play more but they don't have any problems giving long balls or putting crosses in so we must be ready for it.
"We'll be expecting them to start the game very strong. They have a strong dynamic in the middle, four players who can shoot very well from outside the box, Fletcher and Assombalonga can get in behind.
"We know how they play and know what we must do but the most important thing is we are ready to take the challenge."
Paddy McNair opens up on last season’s struggles – One player who has certainly improved under new Boro boss Jonathan Woodgate is midfielder Paddy McNair.
The Northern Ireland international hardly featured for the Teessiders last season and was often deployed in defence under Pulis.
Since then McNair has impressed in his favoured central midfield role and has recently commented on last season’s struggles.
“Last year we had such a boring style of play, we were so negative,” McNair told Gazette Live. “Now we are playing positive again so I think there is always a bit of a transition. It's going to take a few games to play that way but everyone is enjoying it and we are all looking forward to the games ahead.
“I'm really enjoying it, the style of football we are playing compared to last year's is completely different. Everyone is enjoying so that's the main thing.
“Everyone is enjoying training and there is a good vibe about the place so I think the results will definitely come.”