Jonathan Woodgate picked Rudy Gestede specifically for Preston North End game a week in advance

Jonathan Woodgate thought his team were outstanding at Deepdale.
Jonathan Woodgate thought his team were outstanding at Deepdale.

Jonathan Woodgate revealed after his side's win over Preston North End that he had been planning to start Rudy Gestede at Deepdale almost a week in advance.

Middlesbrough won away at West Bromwich Albion last time out, a brilliant result for the Boro, but Woodgate had already decided his plan for PNE before that game.

Gestede, a former Blackburn Rovers striker, came in for his first start in a year to cause plenty off problems for the Preston backline and could have more than the solitary goal he left PR1 with.

Woodgate was delighted to get justification for his decision with the Beninese man proving his bold decision to be the right one.

"It’s really satisfying but I’ll tell you what, I have had a few bad days at the office, and it happens. I’ve got to be honest, today it worked. When it comes off, what you’ve thought of, it makes it a bit more special," he said.

"I told Rudy Gestede he was playing two days before the West Bromwich Albion game, I said ‘that’s your game, get yourself set, you’re going to play that game.’

"I told Frankie, the fitness coach, and JT, the fitness coach, to get him ready for this game.

"I thought he was unplayable at times. He’s difficult to play against.

"You’ve got to stick with your gut feeling, stick with the feeling you get. I analyse teams, I analysed Preston.

"If I had got beat I would have got criticism but it was the right decision to put Rudy in and play Marvin (Johnson)."

Having come into the game off the back of the win over title favourites West Bromwich Albion, Woodgate was feeling confident, but even more so knowing Boro had beaten sides who had been victorious at Deepdale.

He explained: "Preston are a good team, a really good team. 29 points at home this season, we thought it was going to be really difficult.

"But we’ve beaten Reading and West Brom who have got results here. So we knew we had a chance.

"Alex Neil’s done a fantastic job with the budget that he’s got but I set my team up to try and win this game.

"The performance was outstanding. The yards they put on that pitch was excellent.

"When Ayala goes off, I’m playing with two number eights at centre back.

"Jonny Howson, who again, I can’t describe how much I love Jonny Howson. Then you have Paddy McNair coming in alongside Dael Fry, I thought he was immense today Dael Fry."