What Middlesbrough fans should look out for in Bishop Auckland friendly as Neil Warnock's side begin pre-season schedule
Middlesbrough are preparing for their first pre-season friendly in the shape of a trip to Bishop Auckland – but what should fans be looking out for at Heritage Park.
Around 450 Boro supporters are expected to attend the match and will get a first glimpse of Neil Warnock’s side.
Here are some of the things to keep an eye on.
Will any trialists feature?
It was confirmed last week that Boro have taken Oldham midfielder Dylan Bahamboula on trial.
The 26-year-old is a box-to-box midfielder who is valued at around £150,000, although Oldham are likely to ask for clauses in his contract if Boro do pursue a move.
Triallists are allowed to play in friendly matches meaning Bahamboula could feature against Bishop Auckland.
Boro have also allowed former Leeds and Cardiff defender Sol Bamba to train with the squad to build up his fitness, following the 36-year-old’s battle with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer.
It’s not yet known if Bamba will play a part in pre-season.
What system will Boro play?
Last summer, Warnock predominately used a 3-5-2 system due to the players he had available.
The formation appeared to suit certain players, including Anfernee Dijksteel and Paddy McNair who were deployed in defence, and set the blueprint for how Boro started the league campaign.
Warnock has said he’d like to play with a 4-3-3 structure and set up his side to play with two strikers at times, yet that will depend on the personnel he has to choose from.
Over the next few weeks, Warnock will be looking to find a system which allows him to get the best out of his squad.
How many of the new signings will play?
After Warnock admitted Boro will need a big overhaul of players this summer, the Teessiders have made four new signings so far.
The additions of goalkeeper Joe Lumley and winger Sammy Ameobi on free transfers appear to be shrewd signings, while fans will hope striker Uche Ikpeazu can give the side a focal point which was absent last season.
Experienced defender Lee Peltier has also joined the club and can play anywhere across the backline.
It will be interesting to see how many of the new signings feature at Heritage Park.