Middlesbrough FC v West Ham United Preview
Boro play host to West Ham United on Saturday which could see Patrick Bamford feature, the week he returned to Boro on a permanent deal.
Bamford, who scored 19 times in 44 appearances on loan for Boro in the 2014-15 season, completed his switch on a permanent basis this week. However, he’s played little competitive football in the past 18 months, having unsuccessful loan spells with Crystal Palace, Norwich and Burnley.
Boro will be without Daniel Ayala, serving his second game of a three match ban. Antonio Barragan and Gaston Ramirez are also ruled out of the game due to injuries.
West Ham striker Andy Carroll is hoping to recover from a neck injury which he picked up in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace. Sofiane Feghouli, Sam Byram and Winston Reid have all sat out of training this week, but are likely to be available for selection on Saturday.
Dimitri Payet will not be involved with the squad, as he is reportedly linked with a move to Marseille.
Ahead of the game, Aitor Karanka said “It's an important game because if we win we can open a big gap at the bottom, but it's a tough league and I'm sure we will be fighting until the end.”
“The game we played against West Ham in London was the game that changed everything.”
- Fulham v Middlesbrough Preview: Can Boro secure a vital win
- Stojanovic to challenge Pears as Boro number one
“We arrived after losing against Tottenham and the reaction of the players to that game was really good. From that day we've improved and I hope we can continue to improve.”