Jonathan Woodgate drops Middlesbrough selection hint ahead of Leeds United trip

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate has hinted he could use Paddy McNair in a wing-back role at Leeds on Saturday – if the midfielder is fit enough to start.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 4:15 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th November 2019, 9:10 am
Middlesbrough's Paddy McNair has mostly played in central midfield this season.
Middlesbrough's Paddy McNair has mostly played in central midfield this season.

Boro are short of options on the right flank after Anfernee Dijksteel was ruled out for four weeks with a knee injury he suffered during Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Barnsley

McNair, who has often operated in central midfield this season, was also withdrawn against the Tykes following a relentless run of games.

The 24-year-old has recently been away with the Northern Ireland national team and has been struggling with a glute injury.

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When asked about his lack of options on the right side, Woodgate said: “That's why I need to be careful with Paddy McNair, he's really struggling.

“Against Hull the other day he was really struggling but I had to keep him on the pitch.

“Against Barnsley, he was struggling, it was an injury he picked up on international duty so I will have to see how he is.”

Woodgate was forced to bring on Marc Bola, predominately a left-back, to replace Dijksteel on Wednesday night and the former is also an option on the right.

“You've got Bola, you haven't got loads of options,” added Woodgate. “I can shuffle things around, I might go with a different formation, we'll have to see.”

Bola is also competing for the left wing-back berth with Hayden Coulson who replaced the suspended Marvin Johnson in midweek.

Despite suffering an injury at the start of the campaign, Coulson, 21, has taken his chance to impress this season and Woodgate has praised the defender’s application.

“He did well the other night Hayden. Marvin is out of the team so it’s his place to lose. I’m not sure if he’ll play on Saturday because I’ve got Bola who can play there as well.

“He’s done really well Hayden, he’s a down to earth kid, he wants to improve. I’m happy for him so hopefully he can stay in the team because he’s got an opportunity to stay in the team.”