Middlesbrough v Aston Villa: Tony Pulis names unchanged side for Championship play-off semi final

Tony Pulis.
Tony Pulis.

Tony Pulis has named an unchanged side for the Championship play-off semi final first leg against Aston Villa.

Britt Assombalonga is preferred in attack again to Patrick Bamford who starts on the bench, with Adam Clayton again named in central midfield.

For Villa, Sam Johnstone starts in goal having travelled up alone to the North East because his partner is preparing to give birth.

Mile Jedinak gets the nod in central midfield instead of Glenn Whelan.

The Riverside Stadium hosts the first leg (KO 5.15pm) with the away leg taking place at Villa Park on Tuesday evening.

Boro (4-1-4-1): Randolph; Shotton, Ayala, Gibson, Friend; Clayton; Traore, Besic, Howson, Downing; Assombalonga.

Subs: Konstantopoulos (gk), Fabio, Fry, Cranie, Leadbitter, Harrison, Bamford.

Villa (4-2-3-1): Johnstone; Elmohamady, Chester, Terry, Hutton; Jedinak, Hourihane; Snodgrass, Grealish, Adomah; Grabban.

Subs: Bunn (gk), Samba, Whelan, Bjarnason, Onomah, Hogan, Kodjia.

Referee: Robert Madley.