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Neil Warnock will be the first to admit that his squad have under-performed this season, their midweek win over Nottingham Forest representing just their second victory.
Nevertheless, Warnock will take encouragement from the instant impact which has been made by Onel Hernandez and Andraz Sporar, two additions which could prove to be the difference between mid-table and the playoffs.
Boro still only sit in 11th position despite a favourable run of games, but Warnock will hope that the success at the City Ground can lead to a prolonged change in fortunes.
There is added motivation to put things right against their next opponents having succumbed to a 3-0 defeat in the EFL Cup first round last month.
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On the back of his team’s convincing performance in the East Midlands, Warnock will be against making any unnecessary alterations.Paddy McNair, Marc Bola and Martin Payero may not be risked, despite improving with their respective injuries, but Isaiah Jones could come into contention for a recall.
Duncan Watmore and Uche Ikpeazu are also on standby if Warnock opts against using Hernandez and Sporar for the second time in three days.Critchley will make changes to his Blackpool XI with Dujon Sterling or Callum Connolly potentially coming back into the team at right-back.