THREE Tony Pulis Middlesbrough signings who need to kick on under Jonathan Woodgate
With just 45 days to go until the end of the transfer window, Middlesbrough’s recruitment team are set for a busy few weeks - but what about the players who joined the Teessiders this time last year?
Excluding loan signings and short-term deals, Boro paid money for three new players under Tony Pulis last summer - deals which have resulted in varying degrees of success so far.
We take a closer look at the Boro trio who will be hoping to kick on under new head coach Jonathan Woodgate this season.
Aden Flint – Going by the stats, Flint, 28, was one of Boro’s best players last term, starting 39 league games in a side which shipped just 41 Championship goals.
Yet the jury remains out on the towering centre-back, who joined the Teessiders from Bristol City for a reported £7million fee last summer.
With Woodgate keen to build his side around younger players, Dael Fry is likely to be a key part of Boro’s backline.
If the new boss opts to play a back four, it could mean Flint and fellow defender Daniel Ayala will battle for the second centre-back spot.
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Paddy McNair – The Northern Ireland international, 24, signed for Boro as a box-to-box midfielder last season, but rarely played in his natural position.
Under Pulis, McNair was often used to patch up the side’s backline when the manager’s first-choice defenders weren’t available.
As shown by his performances for his national side, as well as his showings for Sunderland at the start of 2018, McNair can provide bags of energy and a significant goal threat from the middle of the park.
George Saville – Saville, 26, was also hindered by his versatility last season, as the former Millwall man played in differing midfield roles, as well as wing-back under Pulis.
Like McNair, Saville was a goal-scoring midfielder at his former club and registered 10 goals for Millwall in their 2017/18 campaign.
With Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson, Lewis Wing and McNair all fighting for places in Boro’s midfield, Saville will have his work cut out to nail down a first-team spot though.