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Match Previews

In Focus: Middlesbrough

26 September 2017

For the first time since the 2015 Championship play-off final, Norwich City and Middlesbrough meet on Tuesday evening at the Riverside Stadium.

Lots has changed since that day but the challenge facing Daniel Farke’s men in the north east will still be a tough one. Here’s what to expect from City’s next opponents.

Summer signings
Middlesbrough’s promotion to the Premier League in 2015-16 ensured that spending money would be available in the following years, regardless of whether they suffered an immediate relegation, which ended up happening at the end of last season.

To mount a serious fight for promotion this season, Boro needed to improve on the main aspect behind their downfall last year: goalscoring.

New boss Garry Monk has spent over £30 million on strikers Britt Assombalonga, Ashley Fletcher and Martin Braithwaite to his squad in the hope of their goals firing them back to the top tier.

Former Canary Jonny Howson left Carrow Road to join the Teesside-club for £5 million, with England U21 midfielder Lewis Baker moving on loan from Chelsea, as Monk looked to bolster his midfield options.

Darren Randolph joined from West Ham United to become Boro’s number one stopper with Ryan Shotton and Cyrus Christie adding valuable Championship experience to their backline.

Other summer additions include Marvin Johnson (pictured), who joined from Oxford United, and Connor Roberts, who joined on loan from Swansea City.

Form guide
Boro have had a steady start to the season and currently occupy a play-off position in sixth.

After losing two of their opening four league matches, Monk’s men have steadied the ship and are unbeaten in five matches. They’ve also made it to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup where they will face a long trip to Premier League Bournemouth.

Boro finished August with a goalless draw at home to Preston North End before earning their first league win away from home, beating Bolton Wanderers 3-0 on September 9.

Another stalemate followed against Aston Villa at Villa Park before Boro edged out QPR 3-2 with two of Boro’s new strikers on the scoresheet in Fletcher and Assombalonga.

A battling draw away at Fulham on Saturday ensured Boro maintained their unbeaten run going into tonight’s match.

Canary connections
As mentioned, Jonny Howson swapped Carrow Road for the Riverside Stadium in the summer after five successful years in Norfolk. The midfielder made 174 appearances and scored 24 goals in a yellow and green shirt.

Howson joined former City loanee Patrick Bamford on Teeside. The striker spent the end of the 2016 season on loan at Carrow Road but failed to find the net as City were relegated from the Premier League.

Also in the Boro squad is Daniel Ayala, who spent three injury-blighted years in Norfolk before moving north in 2014.

Squad list
Goalkeepers: Dimi Konstantopoulos, Tomas Mejias, Darren Randolph
Defenders: Fabio Da Silva, George Friend, Daniel Ayala, Ryan Shotton, Ben Gibson, Dael Fry, Cyrus Christie, Connor Roberts, Marcus Tavernier
Midfielders: Grant Leadbitter, Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson, Adlene Guedioura, Stewart Downing, Marvin Johnson, Lewis Baker, Adam Forshaw, Adam Traore, Lewis Wing
Forwards: Britt Assombalonga, Martin Braithwaite, Patrick Bamford, Ashley Fletcher, Rudy Gestede

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