With everything considered, he has been a good servant to Middlesborough so far, hasn’t he? Britt Assombalonga is coming to the end of his second campaign at the Riverside and, having amounted a solid tally once again, he should be relatively pleased with himself on a personal level but must be aware he needs to step up his game further to avoid a replacement being brought in.
Assombalonga has worked his way up through the football league and following a successful spell at Nottingham Forest, he moved to a fellow Championship outfit in Boro. Last season he adapted to North Yorkshire life well as he was on fire under Garry Monk whereby he netted 11 times before the turn of the year.
Tony Pulis came in during the festive period and Assombalonga took time to adjust to his system and only netted a further four times that season as he struggled really nail down a regular starting spot.
This season under Pulis, Assombalonga has been jostling with Jordan Hugill to either join Ashley Fletcher up top, play as a lone striker or join Hugill in a front two. Boro have not exactly been bursting with goals this season as only three teams have scored less than them this season, with two of the sides at the bottom of the table, and if Steve Gibson was to look to bring in a new forward, it poses the question as to what the future holds for Assombalonga?
If a hungry, proven striker is brought in to challenge for the number nine berth, Assombalonga will simply have to up his game. Granted, it is only of late he has been able to build up consistent starts and that inconsistency will not have helped him perform on the pitch.
As well as that, the service to him has not been great at times where he has been isolated up top.
But, even still, if he is to fend off competition he must take any chance that comes his way, be as clinical as possible in front of goal and look to hold up the ball as best as he can to bring others into play.
If he can step up to the challenge, then the number nine role should remain his as he could heavily influence Boro’s promotion push, or if both Assombalonga and a new forward were performing well together, a partnership could potentially be struck between them.
If Assombalonga is not ready for the challenge then he could face some time on the bench watching on. Though, given his consistency of late when trusted from the start, it seems he is ready for any challenge that presents itself during his time at Boro.
Boro fans, what do you think the future holds for the striker? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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