Vital Reading season preview
Club: Middlesbrough F.C.
Ground: Riverside Stadium (Capacity: 34,988)
When we face off: Sun 29th December (A), Tues 22nd April (H)
Last season finish: 16th – Championship
Manager: Tony Mowbray – The former Boro player joined the club as manager for the first time in 2010, but as of yet, has struggled to force a serious promotion challenge. They came within inches of the play-offs in the 2011/12 campaign, but last season Boro’s second half of the season severely let them down. Going into his third full season in charge, Mowbray will want to get his Boro side back into the big time once again.
Key player: Dean Whitehead – The signing of the former Stoke midfielder is probably one of the best pieces of business in the window so far. Whitehead has played regular Premier League football for the past five seasons under Tony Pulis, but was not required under new manager Mark Hughes. It may have been Stoke’s loss, but a massive gain for Middlesbrough, who have a midfielder with great experience.
Season Preview – Like many teams in the division, Boro have a decent squad, with good depth in it. Marvin Emnes remains for a Boro player for the time being, while young Lukas Jutkiewicz has proven he can score goals. Boro got off to a decent start last season, but there form post-January really let them down. Mowbray will want a similar start this time round, but to maintain this consistency throughout the season and if they do so, could be in contention for a play off place.