Norwich City travel to Middlesbrough for Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship fixture at the Riverside Stadium (3pm KO).
The Canaries are unbeaten in the last seven games in the league, but Middlesbrough have avoided defeat in all of their last ten.
A win for City could see them rise to the top of the second tier on Saturday, depending on results elsewhere, but head coach Daniel Farke is more concerned with just getting points on the board.
“If we go top of the league it's good for the mood, but it's not important after 12 games,” he said in his pre-match press conference on Friday. “It's important how many points we have, but not the position we are in at the moment. We've had a good, solid start and are in a great position to build on.”
Farke was nominated for the league’s most recent Manager of the Month award, but tomorrow he’ll catch up with the accolade’s winner, a man the City manager thinks highly of.
“I like Neil Warnock a lot because I love characters and he's a big one,” Farke said. “He's done it for so many years with so many promotions. He's so experienced and still full of energy and motivation. Even if you don't like his style, you have to admire it.
“They're so difficult to beat with a great mentality and that comes down to what Neil brings to the souls and hearts of the players. I love every chat with him because it's such a good time and so funny. He's greedy to win games, but quite relaxed afterwards and it's always a pleasure to see him.
“Perhaps tomorrow it's 5-5, because both teams haven't conceded many. I expect a game where we have to be patient and efficient. It's difficult to break them and they're in a top unbeaten run.”
City were encouraged this week by the EFL’s confirmation that Championship clubs will now be permitted to make five substitutions during games, and travel to matches with nine subs.
“It's a good decision to allow us to travel with a bigger squad and make five substitutions,” Farke added. “I don't see an advantage for us in this topic, but it was hard to understand why we didn't start the season like this.”
One of those in contention to travel is former Boro centre-back Ben Gibson, who has made a strong impression since arriving in East Anglia.
“It would have been more difficult for Ben Gibson to play against Middlesbrough in a full stadium as he'd have to answer 240 ticket requests from friends and family,” Farke said, commenting on Gibson’s return to the Riverside. “It's part of the job and, if he's fit, I trust him to be there with a good performance.”