Middlesbrough v Brentford: Monk juggling Boro’s multitude of options

In the frame: Patrick Bamford was part of the strike-force on the pitch on Tuesday night who could not force an equaliser. (Picture: PA)

DECISIONS, decisions is the best way to surmise the mindset of Garry Monk ahead of this afternoon’s encounter with Brentford.

Much has been made of the embarrassment of riches at his disposal following Middlesbrough’s considerable summer signing spree, which saw them spend upwards of £40m in their quest, as chairman Steve Gibson put it, to “smash the Championship” and return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

With October approaching, it is fair to say that promotion favourites Boro have yet to find the fast lane, with analysis of their opening two months of the season likely to be heavily influenced by today’s result against Brentford, who have lost their last nine meetings against the Teessiders.

Should Boro win today they could move into the top six, which is probably viewed as a minimum requirement at this stage of the season, even accounting for their indifferent start.

But slip up and Monk’s side will find themselves among the mid-table pack come the second international break with questions likely to be asked.

Despite Boro’s surfeit of options, they have yet to strike a consistent winning formula and despite £36m of striking talent being on the pitch by the end of Tuesday night’s frustrating home loss to Norwich City, the hosts could not find a way through.

On his selection issues today, Monk, who is remaining steadfastly positive, despite one or two bumps in the road so far this term, said: “It is a squad game and all of them will be needed. We have a good squad here and all of them will be fighting very hard.

“There have been difficult decisions for every game so far and that’s how I want it. It will be difficult decisions ahead. All the squad will be needed and ready.

“Whatever team goes onto the pitch, it is with the sole aim of winning and putting on a performance we want and can be proud of.”

Monk is reading little into the Bees’ poor run against the Teesside club, just as he is not about to panic after Tuesday’s unfortunate loss either, with the Boro chief having been happy with his side’s performance levels against the Canaries.

On the task ahead for Boro, who have not lost back-to-back home games in the Championship since February 2011, Monk added: “They are a very good side, who play good football.

“They are very similar to Fulham in terms of their set-up and how they play.

“They will come and pose a threat towards us.”

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