Middlesbrough v West Brom: Pulis looking to restore balance on Boro's flanks

SPEAKING ahead of his first reunion with former club West Brom, the fact that Tony Pulis spoke more than once about his old side having '˜goals right through the team' was revealing.

Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA

Judging by the Baggies’ 7-1 blasting of QPR last time out and a four goal-haul during their previous week’s win at Norwich, goals do not look like being an issue at The Hawthorns this season.

Despite his Middlesbrough side being joint-leaders after a strong haul of 10 points out of 12, Boro manager Pulis is looking at the broader picture too.

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It is his view that while the Teesside club look fairly well covered defensively – and with their central midfield hub now fortified by the return of Mo Besic, who has joined on a season-long loan from Everton – their attacking options on the flanks still look short for a serious automatic promoter contender.

The decision of Yannick Bolaise to reject the overtures of Boro in favour of Aston Villa means that Pulis has moved elsewhere in his quest to add some pace on the wings following Adama Traore’s move to Wolves.

Pulis, who is reported to have ,ade Huddersfield’s Rajiv van La Parra a target, said: “We have not got the balance (at the moment).

“With Adama going we have not got the pace out wide that I would like and I think you need some dynamic pace wide in this league on one side or the other.

“That is an important position for us and we also need to strengthen in other areas.”

Pulis faces his old club some ten months after being sacked, with many Baggies fans being particularly vocal at the time in the call for him to be dismissed.

He remains philosophical over his exit and insists the positives of his time in the Black Country far outstripped the negatives.

The Welshman, who spent almost three years at the club, said: “I think people forget there was a change of ownership and it was dealing with all that. At times it was pretty demanding.

“But I had great times there and I always take the good out of things and there were some very good moments there.”

Last six games: Middlesbrough DDWWDW West Brom LLDWWW.

Referee: J Brooks (Leicestershire).

Last time: Middlesbrough 1 West Brom 1; January 31, 2017; Premier League.