Ayala earning his place in the side
DANIEL Ayala is the latest player to earn himself a semi-permanent niche in the Boro line-up. The Spanish defender has suffered both from injuries and loss of form during the past 12 months. But Ayala has bounced back and, while he still has some way to go to reach his peak, he is indicating that he can do a good job again.
In fact if the Ayala-Ben Gibson partnership can come anywhere near to matching the duo’s overall contribution in the promotion season of two years ago, then it could be a key factor in the team’s push for a quick return to the Premier League.
As Ayala continues to establish himself again, the indications are that Garry Monk is finally developing a reasonably settled side.
The Boro manager has been chopping and changing for much of the season and, to be fair, giving everybody their chance.
But most current holders of first-team places are now digging in their heels and making it virtually impossible for the manager to leave them out.
In some respects it’s what Monk would have wanted. Now his job is to keep those players who are currently not in the team happy.
One player we might not have expected to be in the side at this stage is 18-year-old Marcus Tavernier.
But the Leeds-born attacker is in there on merit and has also scored twice in his last four appearances, including notching the winner against Sunderland.
Hopefully Tavernier will con-