Middlesbrough looking to maintain progress at Aston Villa

Britt Assombalonga.
Britt Assombalonga.

Middlesbrough will be looking to strengthen their top six place in the Championship when they go in search of back-to-back away wins for the first time since April 2016.

Boro head to Aston Villa tonight booted by the 3-0 romp at Bolton at the weekend, a result which ended a run of 20 league games without success on the road.

With that monkey now off their back they will be hoping to clinch another three points at their fellow Championship pre-season promotion favourites.

Garry Monk’s side were thankful to Darren Randolph for a couple of key saves at the Reebok, but it was the talent a the other end which dominated the headlines.

Britt Assombalonga struck twice, heading in a cross from Adama Traore in the first half before converting a cross from the outstanding speed merchant after the break.

Assombalonga had his breath taken away by the display of Traore but said that it wil be a collective effort which will make Boro a success.

“It’s the team that goes up, not the individual - and that’s what we’re here for,” said the four-goal record Boro signing.

“Collectively we all have to work hard to push on.”

Assombalonga did credit the Spaniard for the way he “pushed the opposition back with his pace and power”.

Boro will need more of the same tonight at Villa Park against a home side who are hardly setting the world alight.

Boss Steve Bruce admitted Villa were “arguably as bad as we’ve been since I took over” after a goalless home draw against Brentford left them 18th.

The home side were booed off at half-time AND full-time.

Villa have won just once and have only six points in the end column after their first six games.

And to add to their troubles, Josh Onomah (muscle), Andre Green (hamstring) and Keinan Davis (hip) are all doubts after coming off against the Bees.

Jack Grealish (kidney) and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (thigh) are ruled out.

Monk is almost certain to say ‘same again’ at Villa Park after the way they saw off the Trotters on Saturday.

Marvin Johnson, who joined from Oxford on transfer deadline day for an undisclosed fee, is pushing for his first start after scoring on Saturday as a sub.