Ipswich Town v Middlesbrough: Pulis calls on Boro to control games and be more clinical

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
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AFTER BEING rightfully feted for one set of statistics already this season, another set of numbers is not measuring up quite as impressively for Middlesbrough.

Third-placed Boro’s concession of just four goals in ten league matches may be comfortably the best defensive record in the Football League, but problems persist at the other end of the pitch.

The Teesside club’s tally of three goals in their past five matches is not the return expected of a side with aspirations of automatic promotion with Boro’s current total of 12 Championship goals so far this term being the lowest in the top six.

Only one side in the top half of the table has scored fewer goals than Boro and manager Tony Pulis was especially disappointed with his side’s ball retention in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Hull City. After an unconvincing show in the final third, Boro will be hoping to do better at another early-season struggler in Ipswich this evening to prevent the goalscoring issue flaring up into something more troublesome.

Pulis, likely to call upon the creative talents of Martin Braithwaite and Stewart Downing from the start after both were named on the bench on Saturday – before entering the fray late on – said: “In the final third, I think everybody knows that we have got to be more clinical.

“I have said that since day one when I have been at the club.

“But if we are not going to score as many goals as we should then we have got to retain possession and control games.”

Portman Road is not a particularly happy hunting ground for Boro, who have won just once in their past 12 visits.

Last six games: Ipswich LDLDDD Middlesbrough DLWDDD.

Referee: A Madley (West Yorkshire).

Last time: Ipswich 2 Middlesbrough 2; May 6, 2018; Championship.