Middlesbrough Gazette's Senior Sports Reporter Jonathon Taylor speaks to bwfc.co.uk ahead of the weekend's game at the Riverside
Jonathon Taylor, Senior Sports Reporter for the Middlesbrough Gazette, speaks to bwfc.co.uk to preview the weekend’s game at the Riverside Stadium.
bwfc.co.uk: What can we expect from Middlesbrough this weekend?
JT: I think it’ll be a very noisy Riverside Stadium. As we speak, the club are in the process of finalising a deal for David Nugent and that will only add to the air of excitement that currently surrounds the place. Having so painfully lost the play-off final last season, it has been a summer of fine-tuning and tweaking the squad here and there. The game will also be Stewart Downing’s first one back at the Riverside, whilst Christian Stuani, who scored twice in the cup midweek, is another new recruit. With the new players around, there’s an air of excitement.
bwfc.co.uk: After coming so close last season, how important is it for the club to secure promotion this time round?
JT: Massively. When Aitor Karanka signed for Middlesbrough on a two-and-a-half year deal that was his aim, get the club back to the Premier League. They came so close last season and have shown this summer that they’re going for it again this time round. The chairman has done an incredible job in getting players in. Anything other than promotion, be it automatically or via the play-offs, would likely be seen as a failure.
bwfc.co.uk: Where do you see the game being won and lost this weekend?
JT: I think the middle of the park is going to be an interesting area. When Middlesbrough went to Preston last weekend John Welsh was tasked with man-marking Downing, who operated in that number ten role. Given that Bolton have Jay Spearing back from suspension, it’ll be interesting to see where he’ll feature. Bolton have to try and stop Downing getting into his grove and supplying the frontline.
bwfc.co.uk: And a prediction for the game?
JT: Bolton came up here last season and were tight and hard to break down. From the outside they seem to have improved a lot under Neil Lennon, but I think Middlesbrough will have too much. I’m going for a 2-0 home win.
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