NEIL Harris has warned that Middlesbrough under Tony Pulis are a good footballing side as well as capable of posing threats from set-plays.
Millwall travel to The Riverside Stadium this Saturday where they will be looking for the win that will move them level on points with Boro.
At Stoke, Pulis’ teams developed a reputation for their direct approach involving long balls forward and long throws from Rory Delap.
After Mark Hughes took over from Pulis, Potters striker Kenwyne Jones labelled the style under his former manager “sky football” and “more or less hit and hope”.
Pulis took over from Garry Monk at the end of December, Boro winning 10, drawing four and losing six games since then to move from ninth in the Championship to fifth.
Harris believes the pressure is on Middlesbrough, who spent £40million on new players this season, but he is wary of the quality of Pulis’ side.
“They do pass the ball, they pass it very well,” Harris said. “Tony has inherited a group of players from Garry that were a very attractive footballing side.
“Tony has made a few slight adjustments. They’ve got a big back-line that will go forward to try to head the ball, they’ve got long throws and they put the ball in the box. Because they do that it’s seen as, ‘Tony Pulis is long-ball’. It’s not that at all, they play a lot of football, a lot more than a lot of teams in this division.
“We have to be ready for both. We have to be ready for a team that moves the ball really well and has some really dangerous players in Adama Traore, Britt Assombalonga, Patrick Bamford, Stewart Downing. But then they’ve got the ability to be dangerous aerially as well.
“We’ve got to be at our best and get back to that clean-sheet mentality and be a threat going forward.
“Being away from home in this scenario could be quite advantageous for us. Yes there is pressure because you want to get into those play-offs, but for me the pressure is on Middlesbrough. They need to be in those play-offs.
“They’ve got themselves into a good position but they need points to get over the line. The last home game of the season, their fans will be turning up expecting their side to beat Millwall.”
Image: Millwall FC