Fletcher de­lights boss in Boro cruise

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER -

TONY PULIS praised Ash­ley Fletcher’s goalscor­ing im­pact in Mid­dles­brough’s win over Peter­bor­ough — but ad­mit­ted he does not know if the striker will still be on Boro’s books by the end of the month.

Fletcher scored Mid­dles­brough’s fifth and fi­nal goal as they cruised into the fourth round of the FA Cup, but re­mains a pe­riph­eral fig­ure un­der Pulis, with his one and only Cham­pi­onship start hav­ing come at the start of last month.

Hull are keen to take him to the KCOM Sta­dium this month, and Pulis re­vealed that a num­ber of other Cham­pi­onship clubs have also made for­mal in­quiries.

Mid­dles­brough have al­ready lost Martin Braith­waite this month, with the Den­mark in­ter­na­tional hav­ing joined Span­ish side Le­ganes on loan, but Fletcher could also be sac­ri­ficed as part of a ma­jor over­haul.

Pulis said: “What’s his si­t­u­a­tion? He’s just played a game for us and hope­fully that will give him the con­fi­dence to move on and im­prove. There’s not just Hull that are in­ter­ested, there are one or two other clubs as well. Will he stay here? We’ll see what hap­pens.

“It was great that he got his goal, but I thought he played well in the first half, too. There were one or two who didn’t do as well in the first half, and got bet­ter in the sec­ond half, but I thought Fletch was one of our bet­ter play­ers in the first half as well. I’m re­ally pleased with him.”

Mid­dles­brough strug­gled in the first half, but a tac­ti­cal tweak at the in­ter­val had a ma­jor im­pact, with Lewis Wing re­plac­ing debu­tant Ra­jiv van La Parra to im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

Peter­bor­ough boss Steve Evans felt his side did not de­serve to fin­ish on the end of a five-goal hid­ing, with Ivan Toney hav­ing missed a glo­ri­ous first-half chance when the game was still goal­less.

Evans said: “I’ll fo­cus on the first 45, we gave them real prob­lems. We missed some chances we’d have ex­pected to take.

“You re­alise Tony is go­ing to have a re­ac­tion in the dress­ing room, they changed the sys­tem, but we have to de­fend prop­erly.

“You’ve seen what’s hap­pened out there to­day. When they get the sec­ond and then the third, it be­comes a long day.

“It’s the best we’ve played in 10 months un­der me (in the first half ). I thought we were ter­rific, but you have to be ca­pa­ble of tak­ing chances against any side in the Cham­pi­onship.”

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