Smith eyes change of tactics for second half of season

Boro boss considering 4-4-2 as an alternative to current 4-2-3-1 formation

Gary Smith says 4-4-2 may be the way forward for his side after seeing a team employing that formation get the better of Crewe Alexander at the weekend.

Striker Marcus Haber has played as a sole striker this season and has often done the hard work without necessarily getting the reward.

However, flanked by Lucas Akins on Saturday and, later, substitute Steve Beleck, Haber was able to play much higher up the pitch and in doing so was also able to get on the scoresheet in Boro’s 2-1 victory.

With the arrival of Beleck on loan from Watford - and Sam Hoskins, also on loan, from Southampton - last week, Smith now says he has the options to allow him to tweak his tactics should he choose.

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“It’s a lonely role when you’re on your own and we’ve played that way for a specific reason with numerous changes in the off season trying to find a platform and some stability.

“I always felt 4-4-2 was going to be the route we go. It’s important to have the right personnel, it’s important to make sure the players have good relationships; [the Crewe result] is a good advert for us to be working in that fashion.

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“We’re not anywhere close to being where we would all want to be but we’ve certainly took a massive step in the right direction.

“When [Haber] is up there in a pair he looks the type of player we all feel he can be.

“He bullied his way through, it took a nice bobble off his shin, he gets it out into his stride and I thought he took it ever so well.”

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