Saturday May 12, 2018. 12:00
DR Congo striker Britt Assombalonga is set to lead the line for Middlesbrough when they host Aston Villa for the first leg of the teams’ EFL Championship playoffs semifinal this evening.
Boro manager Tony Pulis has revealed that he will stick with the same XI that drew 2-2 away to Ipswich Town in their final league match last weekend.
That means 25-year-old Kinshasa-born Assombalonga will be the hosts’ spearhead in attack, while Villa also boast a free-scoring African player in the shape of Ghanaian winger Albert Adomah.
“My team is the team that I picked for Ipswich,” Pulis told his club’s official website.
“I’m not hiding anything. That’s my team and that’s the way we’ll go out and play.
“For me, it’s probably more difficult to get into my team than out of it – and if you’ve got the shirt and show effort and commitment I like to have stable teams and continuity.
“When you come into football teams mid-season, as I have before, you look at what the strengths of the players are.
“It’s not about Tony Pulis is or the coaching staff, it’s about the players.
“We’ve come into good form over the past six weeks and found a system that suits everybody now.
“It’s looked a well-oiled machine, and we’ve got to make sure that machine is pumping at a level to get us through these two games.”
The return leg match is set for Tuesday, May 15.