Neil Warnock reveals why he recalled Djed Spence and Marvin Johnson against Bristol City

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Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock says he made a late decision to recall wing-backs Djed Spence and Marvin Johnson against Bristol City on Tuesday night.

After switching to a 4-3-3 system against Reading last weekend, Boro reverted to a back three for their 1-0 win at Ashton Gate, a move which ultimately paid off.

Spence and Johnson dropped out of the side when Warnock said he was disappointed with the pair following last month’s 1-1 draw at QPR.

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But, ahead of a busy run of fixtures, the Boro boss felt he needed to rotate his squad and change the side’s shape to match the Robins up on the flanks.

Middlesbrough's Djed Spence in action against Bristol City.Middlesbrough's Djed Spence in action against Bristol City.
Middlesbrough's Djed Spence in action against Bristol City.

“To be fair, I was going with the same team as Saturday until last night,” said Warnock after the Bristol City win.

“Something came to me in the night - I know it sounds strange because people have other things - but mine was my wing-backs!

“I told my two coaches Kevin [Blackwell] and Ronnie [Jepson] that I fancied those two in this particular game.”

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Warnock also handed playmaker Patrick Roberts his first appearance of the season after re-signing the 23-year-old on a season-long loan from Manchester City earlier this month.

“With Cardiff on Saturday I think a few lads maybe needed some minutes, and some lads also needed fewer minutes,” Warnock added. “We wanted to give Roberts some minutes and he got 70.

“The two wing-backs also needed some minutes and they came back in and I thought they were excellent.”

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