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Dani Ayala on Middlesbrough's competition for places and why he's worried he may not play for weeks

Daniel Ayala in action for Middlesbrough.
Daniel Ayala in action for Middlesbrough.

Dani Ayala has opened up on Middlesbrough's strength in depth and admits players are very aware if they play badly they could be out the side for weeks.

Boro return to Championship action at Hull City on Saturday (KO 3pm).

And Ayala believes the intense competition for places at the Riverside can only be healthy as Boro battle for promotion back to the Premier League.

Tony Pulis rotated his team for the Carabao Cup third round tie against Preston North End, making 11 changes in total with ten academy products in the squad.

Dael Fry, youngster Nathan Wood and debutant Danny Batth among those to get game time.

Ayala, who has made seven appearances this season, said: "You can see that we’ve got a really big squad, I think we have almost two 11s so anyone can play.

“You get worried if you do badly and someone else comes in – you might not be playing again for a few weeks.

“You have to be on top of your game and I think that brings the best out of everyone.

“In the Championship you know there’s a game every three days sometimes, so that’s the way it is.

“We have to live with it, play our best and hopefully get as many points as possible."

Middlesbrough are second in the Championship, level on points with league leaders Leeds United.