TONY Mowbray will set out his Middlesbrough side with a cautious approach at Crystal Palace in tomorrow’s big Championship clash, writes CHRIS BELL.
But the Boro boss will still be asking his players to pose their own attacking threat at Selhurst Park.
The Teessiders ended their five-game losing stretch in midweek with a 1-0 home win over Leeds, much to the relief of manager Mowbray who hopes that victory can prove the catalyst for a better run of form.
Victory at Palace could reduce the gap between second-placed Hull and Boro to three points.
But Mowbray is respectful of tomorrow’s opponents.
He said: “They’re similar to us in that they’ll be eyeing that second spot.
“They had a managerial change – Dougie (Freedman) went to Bolton, and they’ve got Ian Holloway now, who is a proven manager who got Blackpool out of this league via the play-offs. His ambition will be to achieve the same again.
“But it’s only two wins in the last 10 games for them and they’re in the top six, two points above us. Our aim this weekend is to finish the game a point above them.
“Few teams in the Championship, if any, boast a more mouth-watering attacking line-up than Palace.
“It will be a tough game, it always is, and we know their strengths. We’ve got to try and nullify their attacking threat.
“Wilfried Zaha is a Man United player back on loan and is a huge threat to every team that Palace play against.
“Yannick Bolasie, who they signed from Bristol City, is of a similar ilk (to Zaha), a fast, dynamic, wide player.
“Look at Glenn Murray, 25 goals this season – to think one individual has scored 25 times already is a fantastic feat. We need to be very conscious and wary of him.”
Defenders Jonathan Woodgate, Seb Hines and Andre Bikey are all doubts for Boro, but George Friend is ready to slot into the heart of defence.
Friend could play at centre-back if required, with Andy Halliday an option for left-back.
Mowbray revealed: “Woody is struggling – he can make such a difference, as we saw on Tuesday, but I don’t think he’ll make the weekend. Hopefully, in a week or so, he’ll be back.”
Kieron Dyer, rested in midweek, is fit for selection, with Mowbray deciding his line-up following training today.