The Opposition View: Derby vs Boro

Just three games into the season two of the league’s biggest promotion favourites meet in perhaps a taster of what’s to come at the top of the Championship table.

Ahead of Tuesday’s match against Middlesbrough, I have spoken to All About Boro (@NewsForBoro) about the club and the game.

After a great campaign last season and serious investment this summer, is promotion the bare expectation?

It has to be. Given we got so close last season and the players we have recruited this summer, I expect us to be up there once again and to go to that next step of gaining automatic promotion, whether it be 1st or 2nd I don’t care. If we keep playing like we did on Saturday, I don’t see why we can’t go beyond what we achieved last season, but we are only two games in at the moment so I will probably start making a judgement of the teams that are going to be up there this season after ten or fifteen games.

What do you make of the club’s approach this summer with the heavy investment?

I am happy that we’ve gone and spent a bit of money on players who already have the experience of gaining promotion and players who want to be here for the reason that we are aiming for promotion, like yourselves. Two or three seasons ago I felt as if were signing players just for the sake of it when we weren’t really going anywhere, I understand at that time we didn’t have much money then and had to be careful but the players we were signing were very average. The investment we’ve made this summer has been much more eye catching and I’m excited to see our new signings in action. Steve Gibson, our chairman, has put everything he can into our club to make the signings we have this summer and after the business he has done over the last couple of weeks, excitement is booming round the town at the moment, especially with Downing back in a Boro shirt!

Apart from the obvious threats of Stewart Downing, who do you see as your side’s biggest threat to the Rams?

From what I’ve seen in our opening two games, I think you lot should watch out for Diego Fabbrini. We’ve got him on loan for the season from Watford and he looks really up for it. He’s fast, skillful, quick-thinking and is aware of the players around him. His goal for us on Saturday against Bolton was unbelievable so it also looks like he’s got a really got shot on him as well. He’s been the our most dangerous player so far for sure. Other than Fabbrini I’m excited to see our newest signing, David Nugent, play. He came on as a substitute on Saturday for the last 10 minutes so I can’t really say he is a danger yet, but his history in this league is fantastic and I just hope he can carry that on with us, so I hope he starts.

What system do Boro play and how do you think the side will line up on Tuesday?

Well last season our manager, Aitor Karanka, made sure we were tight at the back and we played a lot of possession based football. That is shown by us conceding the lowest amount of goals in the league but also scoring the least in the top 8. From what I’ve seen so far this season, I think we’re showing a more attacking intent now that Karanka has the defensive part of the team sorted so I think we will look to control the game and get forward quite often. Karanka seems to like the 4-2-3-1 formation quite a lot, which sometimes leaves the striker quite isolated but with us working on attacking more and looking to score more goals this season, I am confident in the way we are playing and I’m confident with us scoring more goals, hopefully starting against you lot on Tuesday night!

How do you see the game going and what is your score prediction?

Before the season started, with us losing Vossen, Bamford and Tomlin, I wasn’t very confident looking at the fixture list and seeing Derby away just three games in, but after the first two games from yourselves and us I am a lot more confident! Especially with seeing Fabbrini play I think it will be a tough game for both teams, lots of chances and as much as I want us to win 2 or 3-0, I will settle for a draw so I’m going to guess 1-1 or 2-2. So good luck to both teams!

Finally, who do you predict to finish in the top six and bottom three in the Championship?

My opinion will probably change but right now I think us and yourselves for automatics and Wolves are my dark horses for this season. The three who I think will go down are Rotherham, Bolton and MK Dons.

Thank you to All About Boro for taking the time to answer the questions and good luck for the season!

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