Middlesbrough players fighting for the cause - Jonathan Woodgate

In at the double: Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga.
In at the double: Middlesbrough's Britt Assombalonga.
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Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate insisted he still has the backing of his players after his struggling side earned a point at QPR.

Boro, third from bottom of the Championship and without a win in nine matches, drew 2-2 at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, where Britt Assombalonga scored both their goals.

Woodgate’s squad has been ravaged by injuries but he was boosted by George Friend, Darren Randolph and Ashley Fletcher making themselves available to play despite not being fully fit.

Goalkeeper Randolph, included in the Republic of Ireland squad, produced a string of excellent saves.

Woodgate said: “Randolph was out, George Friend was back in training but I didn’t think he’d be playing, Fletcher out – they come and knock on my door on Friday morning.

“They said, ‘Gaffer, I want to play. I’m not 100 per cent fit but I want to play for you’. That’s top.

“The situation we’re going through at the minute, it’s difficult and they could have taken the easy option and not played.

“They want to play. They want to play for us. That was really positive. It shows what the players are like – they want to stick together and they want to play for me.”

Assombalonga had only scored once since August but he headed in a first-half opener before Nahki Wells equalised and an own goal by Jonny Howson meant Rangers led at half-time.

Boro were handed a lifeline midway through the second half when Wells’s appalling backpass went straight to Assombalonga, who took full advantage.

Queens Park Rangers: Lumley, Kane, Hall, Cameron, Wallace, Manning, Eze, Ball, Amos (Scowen 62), Chair (Hugill 62), Wells. Unused substitutes: Smith, Pugh, Mlakar, Samuel, Barnes.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Fry, Ayala, Friend, Howson (Dijksteel 65), McNair, Wing, Tavernier (Clayton 77), Johnson, Fletcher, Assombalonga. Unused substitutes: Coulson, Walker, Liddle, Pears, O’Neill.

Referee: D Coote (Nottinghamshire).