MIDDLESBROUGH (A); THE PREVIEW

26/09/17

A difficult trip to the North East and a reunion with a certain Jonny Howson awaits for Farke's on-song Canaries. Andrew Lawn spoke to Boro fan Teeside Tom for his view. His advice, start fast and ruffle some feathers. A bit like Wembley then?

Andy - Having been tipped as favourites following relegation how do you feel your season has started?

Tom - Stuttering start to a extent, personally I feel we've got a lot more potential in us. But as with all new managers, and quite literally culture shift it'll take time to adjust to the new approach.
Overall, I'm quietly pleased without getting carried away.

Also, being top at this point can heap even more pressure on so the table isn't of concern at the minute.

Sounds very similar to us that. We struggled under the weight of expectation last season and the immediate return to the top-flight never looked like materialising. In that same vein promotion is considered the minimum expectation among the fan base?

In general, everyone expects promotion, and our chairman came out preseason saying we want to 'smash the championship' - now everytime we don't win, it's being thrown out there as a stick to beat the team with.

Jez Moxey did the same here with a now infamous "promotion, promotion, promotion" speech which spectacularly backfired. So, what's going wrong? You now have the Championship's second best midfielder (after Wes) in Jonny Howson after all...

Howsons had a lot of stick but I don't think the system helped. There were 3 central midfielders getting in each other's way. He was arguably Man of the Match on Saturday though. He bossed it.

He's a proper player, technically excellent and runs all day. I saw a tweet recently questioning why you'd spent 6m on him when Grant Leadbitter was on the bench... You also spunked 15m on Assambolonga, who looks to have been among the goals already. Is he the danger man we should be looking out for?

He's the obvious one but the wingers could be the difference makers. Traore and Marvin Johnson. The latter has been a revelation since signing.

If anything, our weakness would be rough up the young centre back Dael Fry. He's still learning.

It's balls into the box we were struggling with so could be vulnerable if you get it wide and whip crosses in, but have 4 league clean sheets on the bounce so we're learning. Has it been a big shift under Monk from last season then style wise?

Yeah you seem to be doing steadily now.

Yes massively, but then again we couldn't possibly have got more negative than we used to be. Woeful last season.

We tend to start slow for some reason so if you are at it early on then you could unsettle us.

Sounds vaguely reminiscent of a game plan we adopted at Wembley once... so with that subtlety dropped in... how do you think the game will plan out? I think most City fans would probably take a draw if offered it now.

I haven't seen enough of Norwich to make an informed comment but we're strong at home so most Boro fans will be looking for all 3 points.

If I had to make a prediction I'd say a hard fought 2-1 win for Boro. May the best team win though and good luck.


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A great point against the division's form side or a frustrating afternoon where City could have taken all 3 points? Possibly both, but let Jon Punt and Andrew Lawn give you their views and hot takes...

Another tricky away day, another 1-0 victory. Binary football is fast becoming the Norwich way, but who cares? 5 consecutive league clean sheets and more importantly 3 precious points. Dughall McCormick was one of the intrepid 428 who made the trip north, let him tell you all about it.....