DF Previews…

Middlesbrough

Manager: Jonathan Woodgate

Last season: 7th   

key player 

It could be a number of players, we we have a new manager all the players need to impress to become a key player in Woody’s team.

Britt Assombalonga was scoring well in the AFCON and scored a hat trick in pre season so I’m excited to see if his big transfer fee will eventually pay off under an attacking manager.

George Saville and Jonny Howson both showed flashes of good football but we need constancy from the pair. 

But with Woody insisting he wants to move towards giving youth the nod, I could see Marcus Tavernier and Ashley Fletcher being key, fans loved their pace and energy in stages of last season. With the addition of Robbie Keane to the coaching staff, I can only see that being a positive for the younger players going forward. It’ll be good to see as the season goes on. 

SIGNINGS SO FAR

Tomas Mejas, Marcus Browne and Marc Bola have all transferred to the Boro, but we have also had a few additions from the youth ranks.

The returning cup keeper and penalty saving specialist will return to warm the bench nicely just behind Darren Randolph. 

Marcus Browne and Marc Bola look to be what boro need, young and energetic players who are hungry to play. It’s early days but if Marcus Browne hits the ground running he could be a key player to the Woody regime, with his direct style of play. 

Hayden Coulson could be exciting to see this season too, playing every pre season game this season I could see him being a surprise first teamer. It’s great to see the academy graduates signing up and doing well, especially solving that George Friend cover problem we’ve had for a number of seasons now; potentially even replacing our club captain.

Who TO SIGN

We need more additions, with rumors of some more young and hungry players alike to Browne and Bola it could be an exciting season for Boro. We need new recruits in the shape of cover in a number of positions and I’d like at another winger to improve our offensive game. Fingers crossed they’ll come in the form of pacy technically strong players, as that would complement the reasonably strong spine of the team. 

I’m confident with the sales of Braithwaite and Flint, combined with a few of the younger lads leaving the club, this has freed up a little bit of money for these players to come in. 

EXPECTED FINISH

After strengthening the side with new additions; I can see top 6. 

Without new additions; I can’t see any higher than last seasons finish in 7th place and realistically it’s going to take Woodgate a few months to implement his ideology so maybe 11th, 12th would be the realistic finish. 

EXCITING TIMES

Two words: Attacking Football! 

Woodgate has vowed that the fans will see a return of attacking football in the form of a smoggy tiki-taka 4-3-3, stepping in the right direction away from the Tony Pulis mesozoic era. 

I grew up with Juninho making the invincibles look like a lower league side, Viduka’s and Yakubu’s beautiful first touches, Hasselbaink showing the Etihad some real talent, with a Stewart Downing in his prime, putting the ball on a plate for all of them week in week out. I just want to see goals. 

TROPHY?

I really wouldn’t complain if I saw one, but I’m a Middlesbrough fan, let’s be realistic – no. 

@VinnyRay2 on Twitter

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