Three Goalkeepers Middlesbrough Could Consider Should Darren Randolph Depart

Every Middlesbrough fan has expereinced some form of surprise during their time supporting the club.

Be that in a sad way, with the club nearly being wound up in 1986, or in an exciting way with the European nights under the Riverside lights against Basel and Steaua Bucharest in 2006.

One thing that came as a shock to no-one on Teesside was the fact Darren Randolph was awarded the club’s player of the year award at the yearly awards ceremony.

The Irish stopper kept 19 cleansheets 45 appearences for Middlesbrough in the 2019/20 season, with final game against Rotherham upcoming, and make some miraculous saves to keep Middlesbrough in games.

You’d often hear a collective murmer followed by a round of applause around the Riverside after Randolph stopped a shot which looked destined to hit the back of the net.

Darren Randolph makes a reflex stop against Sunderland | Photo Credit: MFC.co.uk

This accolade, along with being named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year, will surely raise the interest of current top flight, or Premier League-bound, teams.

No Boro fan could begrudge the 31-year-old if he wanted to move away. Randolph could have easily been the club’s player of the year for two consecutive seasons, had Adama Traore not burst onto the scene in Janauary 2018.

After the last game of the season, Randolph put a message of social media eluding to staying at the club next season… But things change fast in football.

Darren Randolph at the PFA Championship awards after being named in the Team of the Year | Credit @RandzOfficial on Instagram

Should Randolph leave Teesside for pastures knew, who could replace the goalkeeper?

Adam Davies – Barnsley

Like Randolph, Davies was a winner at the 2019 PFA awards where he picked up the goalkeeper spot in the League One team of the year.

Adam Davies celebrates a Barnsely goal | Photo Credit: Reuters

Davies is fast approaching 200 matches for Barnsley and has just been promoted to the Championship with the Tykes.

His boss, Daniel Stendel, will be hoping to keep the Welshman, who is the club captain, for the 2019/20 season following their success in the third-tier, but one would have thought the chance to play for a side challenging for a play-off place, currently, would be a good step up for the 26-year-old.

Trasnfermarkt value Davies at around £450,000, but Barnsley would be looking to get the most money possible for their shot-stopper.

Christian Walton – Brighton and Hove Albion

Following a season on loan with Wigan Athletic, Christian Walton has shown he has the potential to be a Championship caliber ‘keeper and has potential to grow.

Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Christian Walton Wigan Athletic v Birmingham City – Sky Bet Championship – DW Stadium 22-12-2018 | Photo Credit: Dave Howarth/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

Walton joined Brighton at under-18 level in 2014 and has enjoyed seven different loan moves during his five years on the south coast.

Brighton may not be ready to promote Walton to a starting role, but the 23-year-old will be looking for stability and a starting role for a side, which could be available soon in the North East.

Walton’s Transfermarkt value is at £900,000, but – like for Davies – his club would want to be compensated for losing n up and coming player at an important position.

Fraser Forster – Sothampton

For the majority of Forster’s time with the Saints, he enjoyed success between the sticks and even has himself as a fringe squad player for ex-Boro boss Gareth Southgate’s England side.

Fraser Forster in action for Southamption in the Premier League | Photo Credit: ITV

Arrivals of goalkeepers such as Angus Gunn and Alex McCarthy have limited Forster’s playing time. The former Celtic and Newcastle shot-stopper only made his first appearance on Ralph Hasenhuettl’s bench last month.

One stumbling block for a deal like this could be wages, as Forster will be on – and most likely would expect – Premier League wages. It seems like Middlesbrough can’t afford to have a hefty wage bill next season so this could be a problem.

This is, however, a route which has proved to be successful in identifying goalkeepers able to succeed in the Championship – as Randolph was purchased after slipping behind Adrian and Joe Hart in West Ham’s pecking order.

Fraser Forster, Charlie Austin and Jack Stephes are among the players Ralph Hasenhuettl could offload this summer | Photo Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Forster is valued at £9 million, but could be on his way out of Southampton this summer according to the Mirror, so Boro could pick up a good value deal.

Bonus Names

Leeds United signed Kiko Casilla from Real Madrid in January 2019 which meant that former Boro academy player Bailey Peacock-Farrell lost his place in the starting XI.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell looks on whilst on Norther Ireland duty Photo Credit: TF Images/Getty

This is more connecting dots here, but should Middlesbrough want to revisit Peacock-Farrell in the future, it could see a return to Teesside for the 22-year-old.

Another name in the Championship could be David Raya of Blackburn. Raya has kept 10 clean sheets behind what even some Rovers fans regard as a sub-par defence.

The Spaniard is also young, 23-years-old, so could have room to grow in the future. Raya is valued at around £900,000 on Transfermarkt.com.


David Raya in action for Blackburn Rovers |Photo Credit: Pete Norton/Getty Images Europe

Ultimately it comes down to who is in charge of Middlesbrough next season. Should Randolph leave and Tony Pulis still be incharge, it wouldn’t be unthinkable to see a veteran ‘keeper like Forster come in.

Should Boro look to rebuild more with a younger manager, perhaps Steve Gibson would take a chance on a player with less experience at the Championship level.

Why Tony Pulis can’t keep blaming ‘missed chances’ for Boro’s woes.

By Dom Brown

I, like many of you, have been a fan of Middlesbrough Football Club since I was a child. I remember watching Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Szilard Nemeth and Mark Viduka wheeling away to celebrate after scoring for Steve McClaren’s side, before I was even ten years old.

Away from football, though, I remember I would struggle getting to sleep before school. I would stay awake and think ‘Why can’t I just sleep?’ My mother, when I was upset about a sleepless night, would tell me ‘Don’t worry Dom, it’s about quality and not quantity.’

This is a phrase commonly used in life, or in mine at least, but it can by applied to many different subjects.

If you’re thinking ‘Why or earth are you going on about your childhood sleeping patterns? I clicked this article for you to bash Tony Pulis, not to hear about how you were tired for Literacy at 9am!’

Well I tell you that story to say this. ‘Quality not quantity’ is a phrase that Middlesbrough’s boss should take more seriously at this point of the season.

NO BORO DON’T BORE ME TO SLEEP…

Well maybe…

After Boro’s most recent defeat at home to Bristol City, the fourth loss in a row for the Teesside team who have only one point from the previous 15 on offer, Pulis said how his side have had “40-odd efforts on goal” in the last two games.

Looking at the two 1-0 home defeats Middlesbrough have suffered this week, the reds have had a total of 40 shots at the goal. Out of those 40, 13 have been on target (32.5%.) Add to that that at least another five to eight were easy saves for the goalkeeper and you have a total of around 15-20% of Boro’s shots that could have actually resulted in goals.

Secondly, if you try to think back to how many of those shots actually should have been goals then you have even fewer. I can think of Daniel Ayala’s free header against Norwich, along with the goalmouth scramble and George Saville miss when Bristol City won at the Riverside. (This is without counting miscues from Britt Assombalonga and Jordan Hugill, one coming in each match.)

George Saville misses a chance in front of the South Stand | Photo Credit: GazetteLive

YOU CREATE YOUR OWN LUCK

A common phrase in football, but one which seems to be evading Middlesbrough. Walking back to my car from the game, I thought it was clear to anyone watching the match that Bristol were the better side. Even though Boro dominated possession, they hardly tested the resilience of the City defence.

If you set up like Middlesbrough do at home, then any ‘luck’ that can be given to you by the ‘Footballing Gods’ is taken away. Ryan Shotton looks to be a good player when he is at centre back, but if he is your best attacking threat down your right flank then you are admitting defeat. Jonny Howson played very well when he started on that side.

Not to mention Middlesbrough have an exciting young English winger in their ranks. You know? The kind of player that Manchester United are currently writing a £100 million cheque for, or the player starring for England’s national side? Now I will qualify that by saying I don’t know Marcus Tavernier will ever be as good as Jadon Sancho or Callum Hudson-Odoi, but how will we know if he isn’t started?

SHOULD HE GO OR SHOULD HE GO?

I could go on. About a lack of any sign of attacking work on the training ground. About how fans have seen two free-kick routines all season (and neither have gone towards the head of Ayala or Aden Flint.) About Pulis’ attitude towards his players at the start of the year, calling them not good enough – and then not having the ability to secure any replacements in the transfer window.

Today the Evening Gazette have said that Steve Gibson is reluctant to get shot of the Welsh coach. In my opinion that is the wrong move.

When Gibson sacked Gareth Southgate in 2009, he said how the fans had voted with their feet, and had no confidence in the former Boro captain. I struggle to remember that feelings around Teesside were worse then than they are now.