Four of Middlesbrough’s best-known players will be left out of tomorrow’s game, as manager Tony Mowbray plans for the future.
They are loan trio Sammy Ameobi (Newcastle), Josh McEachran (Chelsea) and Ishmael Miller (Forest), and Kieron Dyer, who has a short-term contract that will not be renewed.
Miller, who scored in Boro’s 3-1 win against the Owls in November, has been back at Forest having treatment for an injury.
None of the four figured in last Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Charlton.
With Boro in mid-table and one of the few Championship clubs with no vital issue currently on their minds, Mowbray wanted to involve only those current players who are likely to be at the club next season, and is already pondering summer targets.
He explained: “The loan players were here to help us achieve our ambitions this season; we haven’t managed to reach the play-offs, so with two games to go I didn’t see the point of keeping that situation going. We’ll have a similar squad at Sheffield Wednesday.
“The dressing room know the standards have got to be higher next season in everything we do.”
Boro were top after beating Wednesday 3-1 at home in November but have won only one away game since then, 3-2 at Peterborough in December. In their last 10 games, they have drawn two, lost seven and won only one - 1-0 at home to Forest last month.
Jonathan Woodgate missed last week’s 2-2 home draw with Charlton because of a one-match suspension after a sending-off. He also has some fitness issues but is likely to come back in for Andre Bikey if he is fit.
Most of Boro’s players attended the club’s Player of the Year awards night on Wednesday: the main winner was midfield player Grant Leadbitter. McEachran was named as Young Player of the Year.
“We have to come back stronger,” says Leadbitter.