STEWART DOWNING will make his first Championship start of 2019 when Middlesbrough host Bristol City this evening.

Having signed a waiver to end the contractual impasse that had seen him consigned to the substitutes' bench, Downing has been immediately restored to Tony Pulis' starting line-up.

George Saville also returns to the starting XI, having been on the substitutes' bench for Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Norwich City.

Daniel Ayala and Adam Clayton drop out of the starting line-up as Boro look to end a run of five games without a win.

It looks as though Pulis is set to revert to a flat back four, with Dael Fry playing alongside Aden Flint at centre-half.

MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Randolph; Shotton, Fry, Flint, Friend; Howson, Mikel, Saville, Downing; Fletcher, Assombalonga.

Subs: Konstantopoulos (gk), Ayala, Clayton, Tavernier, Wing, Besic, Hugill.

BRISTOL CITY (4-2-3-1): O'Leary; Kalas, Wright, Webster, Hunt; Dasilva, Pack; Paterson, Brownhill, Weimann; Diedhiou.

Subs: Pisano, Baker, Smith, Taylor, Kelly, Eliasson, Palmer.