Middlesbrough v Leeds United: Tony Pulis to use final training session to assess key duo

TONY PULIS was set to use his final Middlesbrough training session before Saturday's Championship hosting of Leeds United to assess the fitness of strikers Britt Assombalonga and Jordan Hugill.

Friday, 8th February 2019, 12:52 pm
Updated Friday, 8th February 2019, 1:17 pm
MISERY: For Middlesbrough's Daniel Ayala and Adam Clayton at a soaked Newport County as Robbie Willmott scores the opening goal.

Both forwards picked up injuries during Tuesday night's miserable 2-0 loss at Newport County in the FA Cup fourth round with the duo both starting but Assombalonga withdrawn after 51 minutes and Hugill then taken off 16 minutes later.

Former Whites targets Rudy Gestede and Ashley Fletcher replaced the duo respectively as part of a dreadful night for The Riversiders who then encountered huge problems travelling back from Wales.

Plans to fly back from Cardiff Airport were aborted due to aircraft engine failure with Boro instead travelling back on the team coach and returning home at around 7am.

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Asked about the latest with Assombalonga and Hugill, Boro boss Pulis said: “We've got a couple of injuries, we'll look at them today and we'll go from there.

"Tuesday was eventful right from the beginning. It wasn’t our day from the start to the finish.

“We spent seven hours on a bus coming back having been on the plane ready to take off for half an hour, 45 minutes, and then having to call the bus back when it was halfway down the motorway.

“We get on with it, it’s part of life. It’s happened, and we’ve got to get on with it.

“The supporters travelled 12 hours and stood on an open terrace with the rain tipping down, so it’s not just us that had a poor day of it.

“They got absolutely soaked and watched their team be well beaten.

“We picked up a couple of niggles on Tuesday. We didn’t do a lot on Thursday having travelled 24 hours non-stop and the lads missing out on a night’s sleep.

“A lot of the preparation will be done today, so let’s hope Bielsa and his group are in the bushes and they’ll see everything.

“Coming back having had 24 hours with no rest, we'll see how bright they are today and we will pick a team that is going to give us the best opportunity in the first hour.

"If we have to leave one or two out who played on Tuesday and leave them for later on then we'll do that. We'll do what we think is right.”

Midfielder George Saville also missed the Newport clash due to an ankle problem while Lewis Wing played despite a groin problem.

Assombalonga had pain in his groins at the interval with Pulis hoping Hugill's problem was only cramp.