'Play him in his correct position': Middlesbrough fans react as ex-Sunderland midfielder Paddy McNair starts against Stoke
Middlesbrough have the chance to move back into the Championship play-off places this afternoon - if they beat Stoke City at the Riverside.
Tony Pulis' side are just two points outside the top six following Bristol City's 1-1 draw with Reading in one of the day's early kick-offs.
But the Boro boss has been forced to make two changes to his side following last Saturday's 1-0 win over Hull City on home turf - with defenders Daniel Ayala and Dael Fry missing through injury.
In their absence, Adam Clayton and Paddy McNair, making just his fourth league start since joining Boro from Sunderland in the summer, will come into the side.
It looks like McNair, who flourished in a central midfield role on Wearside, will be deployed in a back three to face the Potters - alongside Ryan Shotton and Aden Flint.
Many Boro fans are confused as to why McNair, a £5million acquisition from the Black Cats, hasn't gained more game time this season.
Here's how some Boro supporters reacted on social media:
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@SilverSmoggy: So we spent 5m on McNair as an attacking midfielder yet pulis plays him centre half in a back 3?
@UTB76: McNair CB? Play the lad in his correct position or don’t play him at all. Use the academy that have players you know... that are confident in that position
@benjaab: Interested to see how McNair performs playing (probably) centrally not sure what people were expecting at the back in the circumstances
@EojSewob: McNair at Centre Back is ridiculous. Lad literally hasn’t played a minute in his proper position. 2 fit defenders and he still plays 5 at the back at home.
@ICharlieCarney: Would’ve loved to see Djed Spence in particular get a run in right wing back. Also great to see McNair back in the team. UTB
@hmiIIer: Do we just keep McNair for Christian events? Boxing Day and Good Friday? Can’t wait to see him start Ash Wednesday
@boromart: That’s how I called it before the team was announced, with our injuries it was the obvious choice. Chance for McNair to prove himself now