7:12pm Friday 25th October 2013
By Scott Wilson
MARK VENUS has axed Frazer Richardson, Dean Whitehead and Lukas Jutkiewicz from the Middlesbrough squad for this evening's home game with Doncaster Rovers.
Having been appointed as caretaker boss in the wake of Tony Mowbray's dismissal on Monday, Venus is effectively on trial for a permanent position.
The boyhood Middlesbrough supporter is clearly determined to make his mark, and has taken the bold step of dropping both Whitehead and Jutkiewicz, who had been key performers under Mowbray.
Venus, who has made five changes to the side that lost at Barnsley last weekend, has also relegated George Friend and Jacob Butterfield to the substitutes' bench.
Daniel Ayala makes his debut at centre-half having moved on loan from Norwich City this month, and will partner Jonathan Woodgate in the back four. Rhys Williams is set to line up at right-back, with Ben Gibson starting in the opposite full-back berth.
Richie Smallwood comes in for his first start of the season at the heart of midifeld, with Marvin Emnes expected to partner Kei Kamara in attack with Venus opting for a 4-4-2 formation for his first game in charge.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Steele; R Williams, Woodgate, Ayala, Gibson; Carayol, Leadbitter, Smallwood, Adomah; Emnes, Kamara.
Subs: Leutwiler (gk), Hines, Friend, Varga, Butterfield, Jutkiewicz, Main.
© Copyright 2001-2013 Newsquest Media Group