Settled team makes it tough for fringe men
GARRY Monk’s push to develop a settled side makes it even tougher for the fringe men to win a regular place in the starting line-up. Monk’s team is beginning to have a “same again” look about it. But then the end of the constant chopping and changing has brought better results on the pitch. Patrick Bamford is one of the men who has not been able to win a regular place.
He can play up front or in a wide role, which indicates that he offers Monk options.
But Monk has settled on Britt Assombalonga and Martin Braithwaite as his front two, quite rightly, while Marcus Tavernier and Marvin Johnson have been vying for the one role on the flanks which still appears to be up for grabs.
When making substitutions up front, Monk tends to have pre- ferred Ashley Fletcher, a £5m summer signing from West Ham.
And, once Rudy Gestede is fully fit again, the Frenchman will also come heavily into the reckoning.
Bamford is not the only one who is under pressure to try to up his game. Adam Clayton, Lewis Baker and Adam Forshaw have not been regular starters in midfield.
Baker in particular would have hoped for a bigger slice of the action, while it is one of the season’s surprises that Clayton was dropped – but then competition for places in what the game is all about.
At the back Ryan Shotton and Connor Roberts have hardly figured, although Monk will point out that he must have a decent-sized squad to deal with the rigours of a full Championship campaign.
However, as a settled Boro side begins to put together a run of results, patience and perseverance remain the key for several members of the squad.