IT is a FA Cup replay that every member of Middlesbrough’s squad wants to play, but Jonathan Woodgate has spoken of the need to strike the right balance when they take on Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham tonight.

Having worked so hard to force Spurs to a return fixture in the first meeting at the Riverside ten days ago, Boro’s youthful squad will be eagerly fancying the opportunity to play at the new home of Hotspur in the third round tie.

But Woodgate knows with a trip to Fulham also on the cards this Friday in the Championship, he can’t afford to ask all of his players to play three matches inside a week – and he has used young wing-backs Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson as the perfect examples.

The pair have become integral to what Woodgate is trying to do at Middlesbrough because of their levels, particularly those reached in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Derby County.

Even though the head coach knows both Coulson and Spence will be desperate to make a first appearance at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Woodgate feels he will have to take everything into account when he names the team.

“I need to do the best thing for the team, it will be tough. I need to look after players,” said Woodgate. “We have tired bodies. I mean look at the full-backs, they got through 440m of sprint distances, the pair of them, on Saturday. I have never seen that before. It hasn’t happened at this club.

“Both players getting up to 25km per hour, counted as sprint. Djed’s top speed was recorded at 36km per hour. Hayden’s was 35. They did 40 or so sprints in Saturday’s game. That is unbelievable.

“Frankie Hunter (fitness coach) said it was off the scale. We need to look after them. That is quick. I don’t want them injured. I want them here for the long run, not just the short run, but those figures are unbelievable.”

The standard of Middlesbrough’s performances have improved and have tied in with the fresh approach the likes of Spence, Coulson and Marcus Tavernier have brought to the side’s attacking play. Not only is it providing encouragement to the boss, the fans are also warming to the progress being made.

“The pair of them have brought energy, Tav as well,” said Woodgate. “I want energy in my team. If you get that you have a chance. Couple it with hunger and desire, all of those words, then who knows where it can take you if you have good players as well.

“The fans are re-connecting with the team. They can see the lads giving everything for their shirt, the performance levels. The supporters can connect with them. All the PR in the world can be done, but it won’t work it’s only the results that will get the fans back in.”

Middlesbrough have sold their 3,500 allocation for tonight’s replay and they could easily have sold more. Woodgate wants a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup but he is also mindful of having a team in full flow at Craven Cottage on Friday.

Woodgate is keeping his squad in London over the next five days, spending a couple of afternoons at Crystal Palace’s training facilities, and they have taken goalkeeper Darren Randolph down with them.

Randolph’s proposed move to West Ham has stalled while the Hammers determine whether to pay the £4m fee because of concerns they have over the thigh problem which has kept him out since November.

The 32-year-old is fit again but it will be Tomas Mejias between the posts against Tottenham. Woodgate said: “It’s up to Darren what he wants to do, if he wants to go there and fight for his place but at the minute he’s a Middlesbrough player.”

He added: “It will be about 20 players, four goalkeepers, and then you have all the rest, more staff than Harrods! Actually, we haven’t got no staff us! We are staying centre-ish to go to Tottenham and then on Thursday we’ll go to Fulham.”

Despite the hefty Middlesbrough contingent heading to the capital, Woodgate can’t make too many changes because of injuries. Britt Assombalonga misses out again after a recurrence of his ankle problem, while Anferene Dijskteel, Ryan Shotton, Daniel Ayala and George Friend remain sidelined.

“I can’t make massive changes, I haven’t got the squad,” said Woodgate, who can play loan signings Patrick Roberts and Lukas Nmecha.

“But there will be changes. Three games in six days is terrible really but you have to do it. It’s based on what I see how we can beat their team. I have to look at Hayden and Djed’s accumulation over that period, I don’t want them to get injured.

“There are loads of games coming up and they understand rotation. I told Adam Clayton he wouldn’t play against Derby but he’d play against Spurs. It is what it is.”

Middlesbrough, who are still working on new recruits with Jordan Jones and Billy Sharp still being linked, are willing to let young striker Stephen Walker leave this month.

Woodgate said: “Stephen Walker is available to go on loan. I think it’s important he goes and plays games and at the minute he’s not going to play here. In the future, 100 per cent but he needs games, he needs to go and bang goals in in whatever league.”