Q&A With Middlesbrough

  • February 24, 2015 | By David Williams
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/57189

Stuart Young, editor of Boro Brick Road, answers our questions ahead of the 123rd meeting between Middlesbrough and Bolton at the Riverside Stadium.

Wanderers go into the game on the back of a 4-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, while Boro were beaten 1-0 by Leeds United on the same afternoon.

In our latest edition of Q&A, Stuart (@Lendinho) shares his views on the prospect of Boro returning to the Premier League as champions, why former boss Steve McClaren is likely to be their biggest rival, as well as why an impressive start to Zach Clough's young career could prove to be a major problem on Tuesday night.

Q: Aitor Karanka is starting to earn a reputation as Boro's 'Special One'. What has he done to the club since his arrival early last season?

A: For starters, there has been a complete overhaul of players and backroom staff, with very little evidence of Tony Mowbray's squad left now.

Karanka has made it his own by making some sound buys and using the loan market very well.

Q: With the business end of the season looming, have Boro fans started to think about promotion and their chances in the Premier League?

A: Of course we have. We've been near the top of the Championship for a few months and our results have been pretty good up until the Leeds defeat on Saturday, so we've all been thinking of the Premier League.

As for our chances. In my opinion, I think we would have to buy half a dozen experienced players that have played at the highest level to even stand a chance of surviving.

We're lucky to have such a supportive Chairman in Steve Gibson and I'm sure he'll do what he can to keep us in the Premier League, if we get there.

Q: Several clubs, including yourselves, are battling it out at the top. Do you see your old boss Steve McClaren as the biggest threat to your success?

A: Without a doubt. Derby County have impressed me the most this season.

McClaren has got his side well oiled once again and is desperate not to make the same mistake as last season.

They want that automatic promotion place this time and with the very shrewd signings of Darren Bent and Tom Ince, they have a great chance.

Q: Who has been Middlesbrough's most influential player this season?

A: This is a tough one because I think it's a combination of two players that have been very influential this season. The two lads in the middle of the park, Grant Leadbitter and Adam Clayton.

These guys look like they have played together for 10 years and have dominated the midfield in most games this season. Clayton does the ugly stuff and distributing very well, whilst Leadbitter drives us on with his determination and keeps us ticking over.

If these two stay fit from now until the end of the season, we'll be up there challenging.

Q: Is there anybody in the Bolton squad that has caught the eye of the Boro fans?

A: A certain young man with a legendary surname in this part of the North East. Zach Clough looks like he'll be a top player in coming years and let's hope it's whilst playing in a Bolton shirt.

He looked the part against Liverpool in the FA Cup and has since put in some good performances. He's got skill, pace and that hunger to do well. We'll have to keep an eye on him tonight.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Tuesday's game?

A: After the defeat to Leeds United on Saturday we have to bounce back so there needs to be a reaction from the players. I think Patrick Bamford will come in for Jelle Vossen, who to took a knock to the head in our last game. If Bamford gets the chances that Kike and Vossen had against Leeds, I can see him grabbing a couple.

As for Bolton, you can see that Neil Lennon is trying to make your team more consistent. After the defeat to Nottingham Forest I wouldn't be surprised if the approach to tonight's game is one of caution from the Bolton boss.

I expect to see an organised and strong defence try to resist Boro, but I think we'll get back on track with a comfortable win. I'll go for 2-0.

Burnden Aces would like to thank Stuart for taking the time to answer our questions. You can read more from him on Twitter - @borobrickroad or @Lendinho - or by visiting the Boro Brick Road website.

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