Ups and Downs of Life in the Championship

Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England), August 17, 2017 | Go to article overview

Ups and Downs of Life in the Championship


Byline: ANTHONY VICKERS anthony.vickers@trinitymirror.com @Untypicalboro

BORO clocked up a second successive win at the Riverside to bounce assertively up into the Championship top six and to give spirits a lift. In flashes, Boro were excellent. They were mobile going forward with some fluid movement and a host of chances created and on another night could have had a hatful, which bodes well.

There were plenty of things to consider from the game and elsewhere on a busy night in the Championship. But who were the main winners and losers? THREE UP Britt Assombalonga A record price tag can weigh heavy on a striker's shoulders if they don't score from the off - but there is no sign of any fiscal drag when Britt Assombalonga zips around the box.

The PS15m man opened his Boro account in sizzling style with a left foot hammer and a sweet right foot rifled drive from a rebound.

"Do-do-do, Britt Assombalonga" rang out twice and on another night it could have been put on repeat. He could have had another couple. So we'll be hearing a lot of that tune.

But it is not just the goals. The former Forest frontman is full of energy and movement, he chases down everything and everyone and never lets defences settle for a second.

His burst of pace, anticipation and killer instincts are starting to show through and, if the team can harness that power, Boro could be dancing to his tune all the way to the top.

Dael Fry The focus at the back has all been on the will he/won't he status of Ben Gibson and the possible reinforcement of the rearguard whether or not the Teesside totem stays.

That has meant the emergence of Dael Fry has gone under the radar.

The Berwick Hills battler may have expected to be on the fringes this term with talk of signings and the return of Dani Ayala to the fold but an injury to the Spaniard opened the door for Fry and he has seized the moment.

He seems to have grown a foot and put on a stone while away on loan and is an imposing physical presence well able to handle the rigours of the Championship. But he has been comfortable on the ball too, calm under pressure and more than happy to pass it out from the back and he is staking a claim for a first team place.

Wolverhampton Wanderers It is a precarious project at Wolves. With big cash on tap from the Chinese owners and super agent Jorge Mendes advising on signings from Portugal - undoubted quality but untested in England - there was a feeling it could be a staggering success or go spectacularly wrong. The early signs are very positive. Wolves have got off to a flying start and although they just edged out Boro on the opening day they have played with a swagger in beating Derby away and then scored some quality goals in a 3-2 win at Hull.

It is early days, but three wins out of three with a team that is still just bedding in has given Wolves confidence and momentum and after year of falling short they now have the air of genuine contenders. …

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