Daniel Farke says Middlesbrough’s January transfer business, coupled with an already strong squad, means his Norwich City side face a tough task at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Boro brought in three new faces from the Premier League last month, with Jack Harrison (Manchester City), Martin Cranie (Huddersfield Town) and Muhamed Besic (Everton) making the move north.
Farke believes this weekend’s opponents have a one of the strongest squads in the Sky Bet Championship and he is expecting a real challenge.
“Before the season started and you asked me who my favourites were for the title, I would have said two: Wolves and Middlesbrough,” he said to the local media at Friday’s pre-match press conference.
“They have spent lots of money in the offensive areas and did lots of business in the last window.
“They also have an experienced coach and really want to get back in the battle for promotion.
“We speak about the individual quality they have but they also have one of the strongest teams. We will play the game full of respect but we will be facing a tough team.
Farke hopes his City side can take inspiration after their last encounter with Boro when a superb James Maddison strike helped the Canaries earn three points at the Riverside Stadium back in September.
“We had a brilliant away win there when we last played them,” he added. “We know we can win some points against good teams.
“With our style, we know we can be competitive and that’s what we’ll try and do tomorrow.”
Reflecting on the previous transfer window where five new faces were welcomed to City’s first-team dressing room, Farke said he was content with the business that was completed.
"It was a busy window. There were many decisions to make and it was a big change for our club.
"I have big compliments for [Sporting Director] Stuart Webber as I think he did an outstanding job, taking difficult decisions.
"Last season we had the oldest squad in the league. Now, we have a young squad full of talent.
"As a coach you're never totally happy but I'm content. We had to find creative solutions and I feel we've found some good ones."