We also spoke to Dave and Matty from Boro Red Army on our Boro v Brentford mini pod who also gave us their thoughts on Boro’s up and coming season
Boro were so close but so far last season. How do you sum up your time with Tony Pulis?
It’s fair to say that Tony Pulis lived up to his billing of having a safety-first approach despite having one of the most expensive and talented squads at his disposal. In his first six months, he delivered a play-off finish but Boro never looked like winning either leg against Aston Villa due to the Welshman’s defensive approach.
Without Adama Traore and Patrick Bamford, Boro were even flatter in the final third last season and despite spending most of the campaign in the top six, there seemed to be a consensus among supporters that we wouldn’t be playing Premier League football last season.
So how close were Boro to promotion? You’ll be pushed to find one fan who’d say anything other than nowhere near.
So Jonathan Woodgate – he’s one of your own. What are you expecting from Woodgate’s Boro?
While there hasn’t been a major overhaul of the playing staff, Woodgate was quick to point out that the starting XI is different this time around due to some players getting opportunities. He promised a high-pressing, attacking style of football and the first game of the season certainly delivered.
There was some disappointment around Woodgate’s appointment as the new Head Coach. But what he has said in interviews and his style of play appear to have won the majority over. He’s had a difficult summer, transfer wise, but that has not stopped him implementing his philosophy on the squad.
He’ll have the Riverside behind him on Saturday and Brentford will have to frustrate and silence the Boro faithful in the early stages to switch the momentum in their favour.
First game of the season. You drew 3-3 with Luton. Happy with the result?
The game was the most entertaining Boro match in at least eighteen months. 17 shots on goal in one match is unheard of for the boys in red so to watch a more positive approach was a relief to supporters.
In truth, Boro should have won the game. They led twice and missed a penalty while they were 3-2 up but how they played has given supporters optimism for this weekend and the season as a whole.
A few stood out, Lewis Wing scored an unbelievable strike, Marvin Johnson was a different player down the wing, Hayden Coulson was again impressive and Boro’s main two strikers, Ashley Fletcher and Britt Assombalonga, both got off the mark. The defending left little to be desired, however, with Ryan Shotton looking particularly poor.
Bees won for the first time against Boro last season since January 1964 with ten of the twelve matches being losses. How do you think the match will pan out at the weekend?
It looks like it will be an open game of football with both teams going for three points. It should certainly be one for the neutral given the attacking philosophy of both teams. Normally the saying goes ‘whoever scores first, wins the game’. But I’m not sure if that’s the case this weekend.
Brentford have a good track record in the transfer market and, from the outside, it looks as though they’ve done some good business again this summer. Despite selling Neal Maupay with, at the time of writing, no replacement signed. Pontus Jansson is probably the stand-out signing and he is likely to get some grief from the Riverside faithful due to his Leeds links.
Bees’ fans should keep an eye out for the previously mentioned Wing and Johnson, while Assombalonga and Fletcher know where the back of the net is. Also, don’t expect to find scoring easy despite last weekend’s result, Darren Randolph is by far the best keeper in the division.
I’m predicting an exciting game with two teams who will go for the victory. Both have the attacking credentials to do some serious damage to each other. Although with the being said it’ll probably be 0-0.
My prediction is 2-1 Boro, with Assombalonga to put his penalty disappointment behind him and score the winner.
For Bees fans coming up where do you suggest to drink?
The beauty of having an away day in the North East is, literally, having a pub on every corner of the town. The closest pub to the ground for away fans is the Six Medals. Although predominantly Boro supporters, it’s a family-friendly pub and away fans shouldn’t be turned away.
Bees fans normally frequent the micro breweries down Baker Street like Twisted Lip and Sherlocks. That’s always worth a look.
The club also announced this week that they are opening a fan zone just outside the ground that will be open from 12:30 so that’s an option if you want to be in your seat in 2 minutes after you’ve finished your pint.
Check out OneBoro for more information on Boro.
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