Q&A With Middlesbrough

  • January 01, 2014 | By Robert Hurst
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/3ecbc

Ahead of Bolton's game against Middlesbrough on New Year's Day, we have got the views of a Boro supporter.

After losing at Leicester City on Sunday, Wanderers begin 2014 with a home game against a side very much finding their feet under the new management of Aitor Karanka.

In our latest edition of Q&A, we have spoken to Stuart Young - who became hooked after attending a fixture at Ayresome Park at a young age. His favourite player of all time is Juninho, while Grant Leadbitter leads the pack of current players at the Riverside Stadium.

Ahead of Wednesday's game, Stuart shares his views on Jermaine Beckford, Aitor Karanka and what is in store for both clubs in the second half of the season.

Q: Middlesbrough began 2013 occupying 3rd place in the Championship, but ended it in 15th. What have you made of Boro's performances in the first half of the season?

A: It's been painful to watch at times, seeing our team outplay the opposition on a number of occasions but not putting the ball in the back of the net.

When you're not scoring at one end, and making mistakes at the back, especially last minute lapses of concentration, it is unbearable - which is why we've ultimately only managed to average a point a game right up until the beginning of December.

Q: Tony Mowbray's three-year run at Boro boss came to an end in October. How has his replacement, Aitor Karanka, done so far?

A: In recent weeks it seems that Aitor is beginning to find his feet in English football, but still has lots to learn about his Boro side and this difficult league. Hopefully he can bring in a couple of decent signings in the New Year which can strengthen the squad.

Q: How confident are you about the rest of the campaign and what position do you think Boro will be on May 3rd?

A: As ever, I'm optimistic about the Boro, especially after seeing them record three wins on the bounce and keep three clean sheets.

If we can continue this mini winning streak then I can see us having a real go at this league. There is fire in the bellies of our boys at present and it's hotting up at the Riverside, so I can see us reaching the play-offs if we really want it enough.

Q: Meanwhile, after a season full of ups and downs, Bolton are 18th. Do you think Wanderers can repeat last season's late surge towards the promotion places?

A: There is no reason why Bolton can't go on a run which will see them pick up points to climb the table. The Bolton side has some very strong players in it and should be looking at that top-six with intent, but, like us, you've lost your way somewhat.

I'm sure you'll start to pick up points. It was evident against Leicester that Freedman wants to go for it in games. You'll end up giving a team a real hiding to nothing sooner rather than later.

Q: Who should Bolton be wary of from the Boro teamsheet and do you expect many changes in the January transfer window?

A: I think I said Albert Adomah was our danger man in the reverse fixture a few weeks back. I'm sticking with our winger again.

He's the one player I look at in our side at the moment and think 'he'll probably score today'. If he can stay fit, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets better and better and scores 20+ for us this season.

Q: Which Trotters player do you think Karanka will be telling his players to look our for on New Year's Day?

A: Jermaine Beckford is the danger man again, for us. He was superb against us at the beginning of November and was unlucky not to score.

I guarantee, if Bolton get a penalty, Beckford will score this time. Our defenders will have to be on top form to keep him quiet.

Q: Finally, what do you think the final score will be at the Reebok Stadium on Wednesday?

A: My heart says Boro will show up at the Reebok and put in another good shift - solid at the back and quick on the counter.

That's all well and said though, so my head is telling me that Bolton will want to start the New Year with a solid home performance so Boro will do well to come away with a draw. 2-2.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Stuart for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him, and his fellow Middlesbrough fans, by checking out borobrickroad.co.uk or by heading over to Twitter - @BoroBrickRoad & @Lendinho.

Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
14 Charlton Athletic 21 26
15 Cambridge United 21 26
16 Bolton Wanderers 21 26
17 AFC Wimbledon 19 24
18 Lincoln City 20 21
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