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Eleven Middlesbrough youngsters who could be given Championship chance in the final three games

Middlesbrough will seemingly have little to play for in their final three games of the season – and a Norwich City victory on Saturday will officially end Boro’s chances of reaching the top six before their next game on Monday evening against Leeds United.

Despite that, currently on an unbeaten run of nine games, Michael Carrick and captain Jonny Howson have been clear in their desire to extend that form to the end of the season to carry positive momentum into next season. One thing is for certain, the Boro boss will demand his side apply the highest of standards even if all they are playing for is pride.




But there is undoubtedly less pressure on the games because of the lack of stakes in them for Boro – with no extra money awarded in the Championship based on how high you finish in the table, like in the Premier League. And with that in mind, the final three games could be the perfect setting for Carrick to hand more opportunities to young players emerging from the club’s academy.

READ MORE: Middlesbrough U21 boss reflects on a positive season with play-off success and first-team chances

Carrick has proven himself keen to give opportunities to academy players when earned, with the Boro boss handing debuts, training opportunities and also first-team travel to give Boro youngsters that feeling of being part of the senior squad. It’s experience that should set them up well for the future.

With their squad still cut thin by injuries – and with Luke Ayling and Sam Greenwood both missing the Leeds game due to being on loan from the Whites – there will certainly be space for some academy players to at least make the bench for the coming games – though there might be some consideration for the Premier League 2 campaign that the Under-21s still have going on, having successfully qualified for the play-offs. But if Carrick does hand some opportunities out, these are the players we predict could be in line for a shot.

George Gitau

A 20-year-old right-back born in Germany, Gitau had a short spell on loan at Marske United earlier in the season due to the connection with former Boro U23 boss Graeme Lee. Since returning to Boro though, he’s been a regular in Mark Tinkler’s side and, in-form of late, his winning goal at Sunderland earlier this week was his third goal in four games.

Jack Hannah

The centre-back, 21, had a few opportunities during pre-season last summer as Carrick sought to have a good look at Hannah after such a positive season last year. Ultimately not used this season though, he has instead been a regular for the under-21s, save for a short loan spell at Darlington. There had been high hopes for the young defender though.

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