Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Only Way Is Up This Season! SBERNIE'S BOLT

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

The Only Way Is Up This Season! SBERNIE'S BOLT

Article excerpt

BIG-SPENDING Boro are the talk of the Championship ahead of Saturday's big kick-off and I'm sure they will have tongues wagging for the right reasons again at the end of what is a must-go-up season.

It's the last year they receive a parachute payment and the clubs coming down next term will get one for four years while Boro would get diddly.

So it's going to be a right bun fight for promotion if they fall short.

But while there's pressure there I'm sure the Boro lads can handle it after what has been the best summer's transfer wheeling and dealing in years.

I'm confident they will go up, whether it's automatic - in an ideal world - or through the play-offs.

Gordon Strachan has brought in experienced, battle-hardened and hungry players.

I think there are a lot of people out there who don't like the fact that the majority of them are Scottish.

But they bring a Braveheart mentality down with them and, although they won't say it themselves, they will want to show they are as good as - if not better than - the English. It's part of the mentality.

The majority of the Scottish lads have come down from the Old Firm too, so will thrive on expectation and relish the challenge.

Glasgow is like a goldfish bowl with the Celtic-Rangers rivalry. There is no getting away from it - it's every day, intense.

The spine of the Boro team looks very strong, especially in central midfield and central defence.

Strachan has got plenty of options in the middle of the park and the new wing boy Tarmo Kink looks the part.

We all know that impressive track records in foreign leagues doesn't always translate into success in England - we've seen that with the likes of Alves and Emnes in the past.

But he's got two good feet, scores goals and is still young. It's just about getting him settled in.

There's still a few areas of the side I'd like to see strengthening - both full-back areas stand out, but Boro generally look in good shape. …

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