TONY PULIS has challenged Middlesbrough’s players to prove they can keep the fans on side when they face Hull City at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow.

The Boro supporters turned on Pulis during the defeat to Bristol City in the last home date, and now the battle is on to climb back into a top six spot.

Middlesbrough know they can’t afford any more slip ups with just five matches remaining if they are to claim a play-off place for the second year in a row.

And Pulis wants Middlesbrough to build on the midweek victory at Bolton – which arrived after six straight defeats – by ending a run of four straight losses on Teesside turf.

He said: “Supporters pay their money, they have a right to do what they want. What we have to do is affect what we can do and that’s the performance, the result.

“When the players cross the line they have to focus, irrespective of surroundings and if the supporters are 100 per cent behind you, and they will be if we win a game of football. We have to be mentally ready to perform and win games.

“We have to make sure we concentrate, play well through the pitch, we have to be more clinical. The other night we played really well and scored two. We have played as well as that and not scored the goals.

“It’s been one of my biggest gripes since I joined the club 14 months ago. We have played well enough, created chances, but not always been as clinical as we would hope.”

Middlesbrough are already without George Friend and Lewis Wing because of injury and Pulis suggested there were a couple of other injury doubts, without revealing who.

Pulis said: “We had one or two knocks after Tuesday’s game, a couple have been rested and today we will see what they are like. We will take it from today.

“That run of six games, four of those we should have won, in another time we would have. It wasn’t with us. We had to accept and move on and we did. Now we have a big game Saturday, as all of them will be, and we have to be prepared.

“Bolton was a relief in respect of the result. I have not been as despondent as some have been because we have played well. People don’t take into consideration we played well and created chances, it was a run where things didn’t dint run for us, referee decisions, poor luck in front of goal, where everything that went wrong could go wrong.”