Meet the opposition | Middlesbrough

16th June
First team
Middlesbrough Marcus Tavernier

As Swansea City prepare to face Middlesbrough as the Championship restarts on Saturday, here we take a closer look at the men from Teesside.

What’s their story?

Middlesbrough

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 10 of the 11 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 recorded during that season.

They reached the play-offs in 2018 but missed out last term.

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

The Riverside club also reached an FA Cup final during that time, but fell short against Chelsea in 1997, losing 2-0.

How’s their form?

Middlesbrough Ashley Fletcher

Although it was a long time ago, they were provided a much-needed boost last time out. Boro had gone 10 Championship games without victory before picking up three points against relegation rivals Charlton in their final fixture before the season was suspended.

That disappointing sequence came after a fine run of four-straight wins which had looked set to lift them clear of the battle to avoid the drop.

Beating Charlton lifted them out of the bottom three, but they remain just two points clear of the trap door.

Who’s the boss?

Middlesbrough Jonathan Woodgate

Jonathan Woodgate. The boyhood Boro fan succeeded Tony Pulis in the summer having been part of the backroom staff under the ex-Stoke boss.

This is his first senior managerial position for Woodgate, who enjoyed a fine playing career as a classy centre-half.

Starting his career with Leeds, Woodgate was soon capped by England and made a big-money move to Newcastle in 2003.

Injury stymied his time on Tyneside, but he soon made a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid, scoring an own goal and being sent off on his debut.

Settled into life at the Bernabeu but injuries struck again and he soon moved to Boro, before seeing out his career with Tottenham, Stoke and Middlesbrough again.

After hanging up his boots, he did some scouting for Liverpool before holding a number of coaching roles with his hometown club, eventually becoming the top boss.

Who are the key men?

Middlesbrough Lewis Wing

Ashley Fletcher has led the goalscoring charts for Boro with 10 goals and five assists, while Lewis Wing and Britt Assombalonga have seven and six strikes to their names respectively.

Their combined tally of 23 goals accounts for just shy of two thirds of Middlesbrough’s overall tally of 37 from 37 games.

The hosts are not short of experience with the likes of Jonny Howson, Adam Clayton and Paddy McNair all having spent some time at Premier League level.

Marcus Tavernier has also made a positive impression in a tough season, with two goals and four assists part of a string of energetic showings.

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