Meet the opposition | Middlesbrough

5th April
First team

As Swansea City prepare to take on Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium, we take a closer look at the Teessiders.

What’s their story?

Having spent all bar one season between 1995 and 2009 in the Premier League - with a best finish of seventh in 2005 - Middlesbrough have been in the Championship for 14 of the 15 campaigns since.

A brief return to the top-flight in 2016 saw them struggle in front of goal, coming straight back down with only five wins and 27 goals, the lowest tally recorded during that season.

They reached the play-offs in 2018 and 2023, and will hoping to return this season after missing out on a Wembley appearance last term.

Boro famously reached the UEFA Cup final in 2006 while, in a successful 2004-05 season, they secured League Cup glory by beating Bolton in Cardiff.

How’s their form?

Isaiah Jones

Very good. Middlesbrough are unbeaten in their last six Championship games, winning four of them.

That run of results has seen them climb to within six points of the play-off places with six games remaining.

Boro had gone five home games without a league win, but have now won two and drawn one of their last three.


Who's the gaffer?

Michael Carrick

Michael Carrick. The former West Ham, Tottenham and Manchester United midfielder is enjoying his first full senior managerial position having previously been caretaker boss at Old Trafford, and led Boro to the play-offs after taking over from Chris Wilder last season.

Born in Wallsend, Carrick joined West Ham’s academy and came through the ranks to make over 150 appearances for the Irons before joining Tottenham in 2004.

Two years later he went to United, and enjoyed a trophy-laden 12 years that saw him win five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one Champions League, one Europa League and a Club World Cup before hanging up his boots in 2018.

He remained with the Red Devils to join Jose Mourinho’s coaching staff, and stayed on when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced the Portuguese.

After a spell as caretaker manager, Carrick left the club in December 2021, joining Boro in October 2022 and making an immediate impact.


Who's the captain?

Jonny Howson

Jonny Howson. The experienced midfielder took over the armband from striker Britt Assombalonga in the early stages of the 2021-22 campaign and has been club captain ever since.

The 35-year-old has made more than 500 league appearances across a career taking in lengthy spells with Leeds United, Norwich City and now Boro.

Howson made the move to Teesside in 2017, and has played in a number of positions – including centre-back – during his stint at the Riverside, underlining his versatility and nous.


Who are the key men?

Emmaneul Latte Lath

Striker Emmanuel Latte Lath is Middlesbrough's top scorer with 10 goals so far this season, with three of those coming in his last six appearances.

The Ivorian joined the Teessiders from Italian club Atalanta in the summer, ending a seven-year stint on the books of the Serie A outfit.

During his time at Atalanta, he had loan spells with Pescara, Pistoiese, Imolese, Carrarese, Pro Patria, SPAL and St Gallen.

He scored 14 goals in 31 league appearances for the latter, attracting the attention of the Riverside club.

Isaiah Jones' combination of pace and trickery have made him a potent attacking weapon for Boro, and he has been linked with a move away from the Riverside over the last couple of summers.

He had nine assists and a solitary goal – which came against the Swans - in the 2021-22 season and proved an important figure as he helped Boro to reach the play-offs last season, where they lost out to Coventry.

He has seven goals and three assists under his belt so far in the 2023-24 campaign, and is a valuable outlet for the visitors.

Newcastle academy product Dan Barlaser has been the heartbeat of the Boro midfield this season, during what is his first full campaign on Teesside following his January 2023 move from Rotherham United.

Barlaser had loan spells with Crewe Alexandra and Accrington Stanley before also spending a season with the Millers, helping them secure promotion from League One.

His move the AESSEAL New York Stadium was made permanent in the summer of 2020, and he went on to help Rotherham secure promotion to the Championship again in 2022, as well as sealing EFL Trophy success at Wembley.