The likes of Dael Fry, Mo Besic and Britt Assombalonga were rested in midweek after serving on international duty earlier in the month, with Martin Braithwaite, George Saville and Jordan Hugill coming into the side to face Bolton on Wednesday,.

Saville scored on what was his first Boro start, fellow loan signing Sam McQueen was brought on for his debut for the club, and Assombalonga also came on from the bench and wrapped up the win with a goal in stoppage time. 

These, Pulis says, are symptoms of the strong competition in Boro's ranks - and that's what's needed in a gruelling Championship campaign.

"It's about the group," he said in his weekly media conference at Rockliffe Park.

"We have a long season, so it's not about the 11 players who play this week, it's about the 11 who play the following week and the following week as well. 

"With injuries, suspensions, a drop of form, everybody has got to stick together. 

"There's a good group and I think they understand the way I want to run it and the way the club should be run, especially in terms of the team and the squad. 

"They are all very important members of that group."

As Boro prepare for a second home game in succession against Swansea on Saturday, Pulis says he has plenty of options.

"We'll give them a loosener today [Friday] and I'll have a look at one or two of them.

"We've got good cover, but it's very hard to change a winning team, and like I say we played very well in the first half against Bolton on Wednesday.

"So it's difficult. But there's always the opportunity and the chance for the other players who are desperate to play."

Buy tickets for Boro's match against Swansea City at the Riverside