Tony Pulis could hand trio Middlesbrough debuts against Reading

Boro boss Tony Pulis. Picture by Frank Reid
Boro boss Tony Pulis. Picture by Frank Reid

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis could hand trio Jack Harrison, Mo Besic and Martin Cranie their debuts in this afternoon’s clash with Reading.

All three were unused subs last weekend, when Boro were beaten 1-0 to Norwich.

But the arrival of the Royals could see them thrown in, especially with Pulis admitting to injury concerns in his squad ahead of the Riverside meeting.

“We needed to have a look at them, and we’ll see for the weekend,” said Pulis, whose side sit six points outside of the Championship play-off spots.

“We’ve got one or two niggles, so we’ll see how they are in training. We’ll assess it, and we’ll go from there.”

Speaking of his transfer window additions, Pulis continued: “It gives us some different options.

“Jack looks as bright as a button, he’s just a little bit short of fitness.

“Besic is a good player and we need to get him in the team as quickly as we can, but we have to be patient to make sure he’s 100 per cent fit before he plays. We don’t want to be losing him.”

One player who is in contention is striker Rudy Gestede, who had his red card overturned on appeal this week by an FA panel.

“He was disappointed he got sent off,” said Pulis.

“There were people who said he should have been sent off, but, if you watch the challenge, Rudy actually plays the ball. Yes, he plays it with his studs, but he plays the ball.

“He’s behind the ball when he plays it, and his feet are not off the ground. He doesn’t go over the ball, he doesn’t go to the side of the ball, and (Grant) Hanley actually collides after Rudy has played the ball.

“We’re pleased it’s been overturned, but it was a decision in the game that changed the game. There’s no doubt about that, and those breaks have not been going for this football club.

“It’s not the first time we’ve had a referee who has made a decision that afterwards you look at it and think how has he come to that decision?”