Middlesbrough were the first side to take points off the Royals this season – a goalless affair at the Riverside in October saw two sides share the spoils for their industry.
It required a workmanlike attitude – and we’ll undoubtedly need more of the same again. Boro’s win against Huddersfield in midweek was their first victory in six outings, having lost some ground on the play-off pack, but Royals boss Veljko Paunović knows his side need to show their best this Saturday.
Middlesbrough are a tough, tough opponent – we know that!” Pauno said.
“They have been through a difficult time, but when we played against Bristol City we also played in the same way that we have against every other team in the league.
“The games where we have played the top teams and have had great performances – we look at those games as something that we have to put out there.”
And he’ll want his side to be fit and healthy for the challenge.
We welcomed two absentees back into the squad at Ashton Gate, while one short-term omission could return this weekend.
“We’ll look to heal our wounds, recover our players from fatigue, knocks and injuries,” he continued. “But so far it looks good.
“It’s also good to welcome back players. Against Bristol City, in our squad we had George Pușcaș who came in, and Liam Moore who is in his final stage of his recovery and building his game fitness.
“Josh Laurent received a knock in the game against Millwall, and we thought it was important for him to rest. We didn’t want to risk anything – he will benefit from that, and will come back as soon as possible.”