Middlesbrough’s 2017/18 season
League Position: 5th (Lost Play-Off Semi-Final)
Average league attendance: 25,544
Top league goal-scorer: Britt Assombalonga (15)
Last season Boro failed to return to the Premier League after their relegation the previous year, despite making it all the way to the Play-Offs. A 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa was all they had to show for a fifth place finish in the Championship.
The Club has spent more than 60 seasons playing top flight football since its 1876 inception and 45 in the second tier. That shows a trend of ups and downs likely to continue as time goes on. The last time this team was relegated and then got close to the Play-Offs, it took them seven years to get back into England's top division.
Next year they will be controlled by a manager who knows how to play disciplined football. While it might not be the most attractive style, it could make all the difference when it comes to getting Boro back to the promised land.
The Riverside Stadium
Miles from Brentford: 248
Address: Middlesbrough, TS3 6RS
Tony Pulis is a veteran manager appointed by Boro on Boxing Day 2017 after the departure of Garry Monk. His previous three clubs include Stoke City, Crystal Palace and most recently West Bromwich Albion. He has also held posts at Plymouth Argyle, Bristol City and Gillingham.
A former defender with appearances for Bristol Rovers and Newport County, Pulis has gained a reputation in football for getting good results despite tight financial restrictions. His aim with Middlesbrough is to return them to top flight football at the first time of asking, something he last acheived with Stoke in 2008.
The Key Man
Club captain Ben Gibson came through the ranks at Middlesbrough to get First Team football in 2011 as a youngster from the bench. After moving out on loan spells to Plymouth Argyle, York City and Tranmere Rovers, Gibson returned to help the squad reach the Play-Offs in 2015. He was in the team that beat Brentford 5-1 in the Semi-Finals before losing out to Norwich City in the Final.
The following season he lead the Club to promotion to the Premier League under Head Coach Aitor Karanka and played top flight football in every game (38) for Boro as they came back down a year later.
Last term the 25-year-old captained the team to the Play-Offs after a fifth place finish in the league, the squad losing out to Aston Villa in the Semi-Finals to a 1-0 aggregate score.
Head to Head
Brentford wins: 7
Boro wins: 13
2018/19 Odds with Leo Vegas Sport UK*
Championship Winners: 9/1
*Odds correct at time of writing.
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