Middlesbrough lads should relish playing at Riverside, insists Pulis

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis.
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Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis hopes his players can build their confidence after ending a run of four consecutive home defeats by denting Hull City’s Championship top-six hopes.

Britt Assombalonga’s 13th goal of the season kept Middlesbrough’s play-off hopes alive as they beat Hull 1-0.

Middlesbrough, who had trailed the play-off zone by four points before the game, were keen to avoid a fifth straight reversal on home soil for the first time since 1996 – and to do that Pulis kept the same team that beat Bolton in midweek.

Boro did enough to cut the gap to sixth-place Bristol City, although it looks like defender Daniel Ayala will not play in the run-in because of a knee injury sustained after a fall in the area.

Pulis said: “It’s deja vu, the chances we had first half, we should be scoring more than one goal. It was edgy in the end, they threw balls forward because they had nothing to lose.

“We still had three opportunities to get the second. I think we had seven where if we hit the target we score. We have done that a lot of times this season.

“The lads should relish playing here, it’s a fabulous stadium, a lovely pitch, but they do get nervous and I don’t know why. Hopefully that gives us the confidence going forward.

“Losing Dani is a blow for us. Danny Baath went back in January and George Friend is missing as well.

“The gods have not been with us in lots of ways. We will wait and see how Dani is, he has been taken to hospital.

“Darren (Randolph) has been brilliant all season. He is a great lad, nothing fazes him. I am pleased with the result, pleased to get a second win on the bounce.”