JONATHAN WOODGATE has already conceded he might have to sacrifice his preferred playing style if it means Middlesbrough winning more matches this season.

The Boro head coach takes his squad to Bristol City today knowing he has only enjoyed one win from his opening six matches in charge of his hometown team.

He has soon found that the challenge of redeveloping Middlesbrough’s playing style, with largely the same squad and a sprinkling of new players, is going to be tough – and it will be a big ask to celebrate a second win at Ashton Gate this afternoon.

Middlesbrough have already shown flashes of the sort of football Woodgate would prefer to see from his players, but consistency has been the key and they have not shown that regularly over the opening month of the campaign.

Now Woodgate admits Middlesbrough might not be able to always play with the swagger he is searching for, and he feels sometimes it will be about coming away with the right result regardless of the style they have delivered three points in.

“There are slight tweaks you have to make,” said Woodgate. “With Brentford you can go and press them, but if Blackburn are just botting the ball long to (Sam) Gallagher then it can be difficult to really press – what are you going to press in that situation?

“Sometimes you’ve got to try to win a game ugly, sometimes you’ve got to do that. Even though you want to stick with your principles sometimes in this league you have to dig your heels in and grind it out like we did against Wigan.

“Blackburn changed to play against us and you’ll find teams doing that, because when we play we can open up teams, so teams will do that against us so it’s important that we have people to counteract that and be aggressive.”

Despite having a largely inexperienced squad, Woodgate knows he does have plenty players who have been through more and it would be those types of players – like Jonny Howson and George Friend – who he will need to help develop what he wants to do.

“I’ve got good leaders on the pitch and in the dressing room,” said Woodgate. “They’re a great bunch of lads who’ve caused me no problems so far. They’re all giving it everything they’ve got in training and helping me.

“I can’t speak highly enough of them on the training pitch. OK, at times in games we need to do more, but in training they give me everything and the leaders will help us as we go on.”

Middlesbrough head to Bristol knowing the home win against Wigan is the only time they have enjoyed a victory so far, and City will be a big test under Lee Johnson, having won their last three Championship matches.

“Lee’s done a lot more than me in the (managerial) game, he’s managed Bristol for numerous years and done a fantastic job,” said Woodgate. “I like to see younger managers getting a chance like he’s had a chance. He’s done really well and I’m sure there’ll be clubs looking to take him in the future.

“They’re unbeaten in five games. The league games, they’re a good team, they’ve been with this manager for a number of years and they’ll be thereabouts this season, top six I’d say.

“They sold a couple of players this season but brought a few in, it’ll be a tough test for us. I think at times we’ve been good in 45 minutes and not so good in the next 45 minutes so it’s getting that together. There is slight improvements in the team but we do need to get better.”