Woodgate urges Boro to ‘turn up’ against struggling trio

Woodgate hits out at lack of VAR.

Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate has called on his players to claim key wins over the three clubs in the Championship drop zone.

Boro sit in 18th spot in the table and they are seven points clear of danger ahead of their trip to third-from-bottom Wigan on Tuesday.

The Teesside club then host rock-bottom Luton before a trip to Barnsley, who sit 23rd, and Woodgate feels the next three matches could define his side’s season.

“These are big games for us now, big games,” Woodgate told Teesside Live: “My players turn up for big games to be honest, when we’ve needed the win, we’ve won.”

Boro head to the DW Stadium winless in their last seven games across all competitions but Woodgate has no concerns over their form.

Two of those games came against Premier League outfit Spurs in the FA Cup, and the north east side gave a good account of themselves in a 3-2 defeat at promotion-chasing Brentford at the weekend as they twice fought back to level matters before Ollie Watkins scored a late winner for the Bees.

He added: “If you look at the teams we’ve been beaten by they’ve been really good teams. Brentford was our first loss in four games. Alright, we’ve had three draws in them but the performances are there.”

Middlesbrough will be without Dani Ayala, Anfernee Dijksteel, George Friend and Ryan Shotton for the trip to Wigan on Tuesday.