Middlesbrough travel to West Brom today hoping to put the disappointment of the January transfer window behind them by defeating one of their closest promotion rivals.
Fifth-placed Boro go into the game three points behind Albion, where manager Tony Pulis will be coming up against not only a former club, but, in boss Darren Moore, one of his old lieutenants.
Moore was Pulis’s captain during his time at Portsmouth and beat Boro to the deadline-day loan signing of Newcastle winger Jacob Murphy.
“He’s one of the best people I’ve met in football,” said Pulis.
“He’s an absolute wonderful lad. If there’s anybody I would want to be successful it’s Darren.”
Some Boro squad members are still dealing with a bout of flu, but there are no new injury problems to contend with. January signings Rajiv van La Parra and John Obi Mikel could feature.
Let’s get everybody together and get the supporters giving their best, because we’ll need them now.Tony Pulis
“Van’s got a lot stronger, he’s close to being near it now,” said Pulis.
“John is just a beast. He needs the games.
“The game at West Brom will be quicker than what he’s played in for a long time.
“He’ll certainly have to be on his game because they are bright, the forwards that they’ve got.”
West Brom are the Championship’s top scorers with 57 goals – 26 more than Boro – and could be bolstered by the return of some key players.
Unrest has been mounting in the Middlesbrough stands in recent months, particularly at home, but Pulis made an impassioned call for togetherness ahead of the final stretch of the season.
“What we’ve got to do now, everybody, is stick together,” said the former Baggies boss.
“Let’s get everybody together and get the supporters giving their best because we’ll need them now.
“There’s momentum at other clubs that we’ve not gained in this window. They’ve got the wind behind their sails, we haven’t, and we need to get that.
“[The players] need help and we need everybody together.”