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Derby County 2 v 1 Middlesbrough
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 13th February 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Neil Warnock must make these Middlesbrough changes against Huddersfield
Monday, 15th Feb 2021 12:25 by Phil Spencer

Middlesbrough's season is hanging in the balance after a rough start to 2021.

Two wins from their last 10 matches in all competitions has seen the Teessiders lose all momentum in their push to secure a play-off spot, meaning that changes must be made to get them back on track.

Tuesday night will see Neil Warnock's side welcome Huddersfield Town to the Riverside Stadium - a side who are struggling for form themselves.

That means that this is the perfect opportunity for the gaffer to freshen up his side and take the game to the Terriers in order to grab a crucial three points.

But who should start against Huddersfield? Here's Phil Spencer's side.

Goalkeeper - Jordan Archer
Marcus Bettinelli has struggled for form for a number of weeks now and that's why a fresh voice might be needed at the back.

While Warnock's hands have been tied previously, the addition of Jordan Archer in January means that they have a goalkeeper with real Championship experience who can step into the side and make an immediate impact.

The time has come for a change and Archer is due his chance.

Right-back - Anfernee Dijksteel
A player who enjoyed an excellent first half of the season at right-back.

Has been used as a makeshift central defender of late but hasn't looked anywhere near good enough to lead from the back for Middlesbrough.

Dijksteel certainly doesn't deserve to be dropped, and so returning to the right side seems like the best option - particularly with Fisher not exactly setting the world alight after his impressive debut.

Central defender - Dael Fry
A risky one given his lack of fitness, but a call that needs to be made.

Middlesbrough have looked incredibly shaky at the back of late and that's been down the lack of a natural centre-back in the side.

With the season hanging in the balance I think it's key that Fry is reintroduced to the team - even if he's not fully fit.

Central defender - Paddy McNair
A player who has been one of Middlesbrough's best for most of the season - until the last couple of weeks at least.

McNair is a completely different player when playing alongside a natural centre-back like Fry, and if the academy graduate can return then it makes sense to reunite the partnership.

Some might call for McNair to move into midfield, but given the lack of defensive options I think he needs to stay put.

Left-back - Marc Bola
Middlesbrough's defence has been ropy of late but Marc Bola has still looked decent.

The full-back deserves to keep his spot in the side as it's hard to see Hayden Coulson slotting into the side and providing the sort of solidity to the team that Bola brings.

Warnock's team need leaders and that's why Bola must keep his spot.

Central midfield - George Saville
Middlesbrough need to take the game to Huddersfield and that's why I'd switch to a two-man midfield.

Sam Morsy is the man to sit out in my side, as the impact that George Saville plays in that box-to-box role will be key in helping the Teessiders to control the game.

Saville has looked decent in recent weeks and is now integral to Warnock's side.

Central midfield - Jonny Howson
Quite simply a player who can't be dropped.

Howson's energy, work rate and ability to sweep up play will be vital to Middlesbrough whether they play with a two or three-man midfield.

If Middlesbrough are to get back on track they need their leaders and Howson is certainly that.

Right winger - Duncan Watmore
Middlesbrough's attack needs a reboot and that's why I'd be inclined to revert to the club's options pre-January.

Watmore started against Derby but wasn't fantastic - however his energy and work rate is what's needed to ensure that Middlesbrough can defend as a unit.

His form may have dropped off since the end of last year, but I firmly believe that a player who can contribute both on and off the ball will be key.

Central attacking midfield - Neeskens Kebano
As part of my tactical reshuffle I've opted to use a typical number 10.

Neeskens Kebano has played much of his career in this role and I believe that the Fulham man could be a real handful as the linking man between a deep-lying, disciplined midfield duo and the more offensive attacking trio.

He's already showed what he can do and with a bit more freedom Warnock will be hoping that he can make a real impact.

Left winger - Marvin Johnson
Yannick Bolasie's injury is a blow, but Neil Warnock needs a reliable option on the left.

Marvin Johnson is a safe bet who can offer lots in attack but also knows his responsibility in providing cover for Marc Bola at left-back.

Options are limited in this area and I think that this move could be the ideal option in bringing the balance back to the team.

Striker - Chuba Akpom
Neil Warnock is struggling to find an in-form striker right now.

Ashley Fletcher isn't fully fit and Britt Assombalonga simply hasn't been at the races in recent weeks.

With such limited options the hope is that Akpom can make an impact with a trio of offensive midfielders around him.

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