Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate drops selection hint ahead of Hartlepool clash

Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate plans to rotate his starting XI for this weekend’s friendly at Hartlepool United.

Friday, 12th July 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Friday, 12th July 2019, 6:22 pm
Jonathan Woodgate is expecting another tough game when Middlesbrough face Hartlepool on Sunday.

Boro will travel to the Super 6 Stadium on Sunday afternoon (1pm kick-off) for their third game of pre-season, following Wednesday’s 3-1 win over Gateshead.

Woodgate used 22 players at the International Stadium, with Adam Clayton, Luke Armstrong, Connor Malley, Rudy Gestede, Nathan Dale, Nathan Wood and Sam Stubbs coming on in the second half.

According to Woodgate, those seven players are likely to receive more gametime against Pools, with Boro’s head coach keen to take a look at all his options.

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“I’ll have to put a few who played the 20 minutes and the 30 minutes, they’ll play 60 and 70 minutes so there is a plan going forward,” said Woodgate.

“There won’t be huge changes, this is the core of the group now, these players will be coming with me.”

Against Gateshead, Boro struggled to break down their opponents for large spells, and Woodgate is expecting another tough game against Craig Hignett’s Pools.

“They’re all tough,” he said, of the Heed win.

“When you come here and they have the two banks of four with their 10 sitting in they’re difficult to break down.

“As coaches we need to find ways to break it down and work on it because we’re getting the hang of winning the ball back quick and we need to do more work on the ball and getting into little pockets of space.”