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Middlesbrough: Pulis must ensure players avoid distractions in play-off race

Middlesbrough: Pulis must ensure players avoid distractions in play-off race - Middlesbrough

When Danny Loader gave Reading an early lead at the Riverside Stadium last Saturday, Middlesbrough supporters must have been fearing the worst as their play-off hopes were left hanging by a thread.

With sixth-place Derby County leading at Bristol City, Tony Pulis’ side simply had to respond or face falling three points behind their rivals with just one game left to play. Knowing what was at stake, the Smoggies quickly turned things around against the Royals as goals from Lewis Wing and Britt Assombalonga secured a vital victory for the hosts.

Although it will be fair to assume that the majority of those associated with Boro will be keeping a close eye on the outcome of the Rams’ clash with Swansea City on Tuesday, it is imperative that Pulis does not allow his players to lose focus on what they have to do next Saturday.

Despite clearly being the underdogs having played a game less than Derby, by avoiding any possible distractions, the Smoggies should be able to secure all three points against a Rotherham United side who have already been relegated to League One.

By winning their final game, Pulis’ side will put a considerable amount of pressure on their rivals who have a history of choking when it really matters in the Championship.

However, if Boro cannot overcome Derby in the league standings, it may result in serious questions being asked of their manager as they have been very underwhelming since the turn of the year with a run of six consecutive defeats between March and the beginning of April demonstrating just how much they have been struggling in recent months.

Having achieved promotion from the second tier with Stoke City in 2011, Pulis will still think that he is the right man for the job heading into next season yet with his contract running out in the summer (via the Northern Echo), there is a chance that he will be asked to step aside.

What do you think Boro fans? Are you confident that your side can still reach the play-offs in May? Should Pulis’ step aside if you miss out on a top-six finish? Let us know below.

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Article title: Middlesbrough: Pulis must ensure players avoid distractions in play-off race

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