The two teams go into tonight's game after experiencing different fortunes three days ago. As Burnley were beating Bolton at home, Middlesbrough were suffering an opening day defeat at Barnsley, going down to a 1-0 reverse courtesy of a Craig Davies goal.
It was a shock result. Barnsley are considered to be one of the relegation favourites with Middlesbrough believed to be ready to mount a promotion challenge. Midfielder Kevin Thomson said ahead of that game: "We have to target promotion, and we have to start by going to Barnsley looking for a win." It didn't happen on Saturday and we need to be wary of a backlash.
|David Edgar, back down to business|
Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray had made seven signings during the close season. Probably the stand out signing of them all was the return of central defender Jonathan Woodgate and he was joined by another former defender in Stuart Parnaby, a once Burnley target who had been without a club for a year.
Ipswich midfielder Grant Leadbitter is considered a shrewd signing but the others have come from lower down the leagues, including George Friend and Mustapha Carayol from Doncaster and Bristol Rovers respectively.
They've not finished their business, according to Mowbray, and just yesterday they signed young Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran on a season long loan. He could make his debut tonight and there could also be a return for Joe Bennett and a first league game for Carayol, both of whom missed out at Barnsley through injury.
Marvin Emnes is a doubt having suffered an ankle injury on Saturday and one player who definitely won't be playing is Lukas Jutkiewicz. He signed from Coventry in January and made his debut against us, but a freak training accident in pre-season forced him to have minor knee surgery. He won't be out too long but it is likely to be September before he returns.
Their team at Barnsley was: Jason Steele, Justin Hoyte, Rhys Williams, Jonathan Woodgate, George Friend (Andy Halliday 62), Faris Haroun (Merouane Zemmama 62), Nicky Bailey, Grant Leadbitter, Julio Arca (Adam Reach 62), Marvin Emnes, Emmanuel Ledesma. Subs not used: Jayson Leutwiler, Seb Hines, Richard Smallwood, Luke Williams.
The Clarets travel up to Middlesbrough tonight buoyed by the performance and result on Saturday in the opening day win against Bolton.
It really was as good a start as any of us could have dared hope. A consensus ahead of the game was that a draw might be a good result, but the team gave the fans a massive lift at a vibrant Turf Moor with goals from Martin Paterson and Charlie Austin.
That's four goals in his last five home starts for Pato, stretching back to the Boxing Day win last season against Doncaster. The other goals came against Hull and West Ham with the only blank day the 1-1 draw against Palace.
Austin meanwhile is very much a goalscorer. He scored five in five pre-season games and has continued that with goals at Port Vale and in the Bolton win. He had a lean spell having returned from his shoulder injury last season but since hitting the hat trick at Portsmouth in March has been very much back to his goalscoring best.
That win wasn't all about the two strikers. There were outstanding performances all over the pitch including the central defensive pairing of David Edgar and new captain Jason Shackell.
Edgar enjoyed it. "Obviously we are really happy," he said. "It was a fantastic performance from start to finish but it's back down to business now with a game to get ready for.
"It's going to be a tough game. They didn't win on Saturday and will want to put on a performance because it is their first game at home, so it will be tough.
"It's about consistency and we have set the bar really high with that performance and we have to keep it up and keep going."
Edgar will line up tonight in a side that will surely not be much changed from Saturday, if at all. It wouldn't be a surprise whatsoever should Howe name the same team.
That team was: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, David Edgar, Jason Shackell, Joseph Mills, Dean Marney, Ross Wallace, Chris McCann, Martin Paterson, Charlie Austin, Junior Stanislas. Subs: Brian Jensen, Michael Duff, Ben Mee, Marvin Bartley, Brian Stock, Sam Vokes, Alex MacDonald.
Last Time We Were There
Last season's 2-0 win at Middlesbrough was voted our second best away performance of the season, behind only the 2-1 win at West Ham.
|Kieran Trippier scored the second goal|
It was no surprise to see it right up there in the voting. It was an outstanding show and the result was never in doubt once Jay Rodriguez had opened the scoring in the sixth minute from the trademark corner routine.
We'd started so well and when David Edgar dummied Ross Wallace's corner, Jay got the perfect connection to beat goalkeeper Connor Ripley easily.
There was no sign of them coming back at us. We dominated the game and it looked all up for them just before the half hour when Kieran Trippier, returning after missing the cup tie at Norwich through suspension, beat Ripley, believe it or not, with a long range shot that the goalkeeper should have done better with.
It was still 2-0 at half time and we fully deserved that lead. We'd been the better side by some considerable distance and that continued in the early stages of the second half, that was until injury struck and Junior Stanislas was forced off.
We had to change the system but, despite Middlesbrough winning more of the possession, we were still able to contain them well.
There were more problems with Martin Paterson also forced off, both had hamstring injuries, but other than that this was a performance to savour. It ended 2-0 and it was fully deserved.
The teams were;
Middlesbrough: Connor Ripley, Justin Hoyte, Matthew Bates, Rhys Williams, Joe Bennett, Faris Haroun, Kevin Thomson, Richard Smallwood (Lukas Jutkiewicz 57), Julio Arca (Tony McMahon 68), Scott McDonald (Merouane Zemmama 75), Marvin Emnes. Subs not used: Stephen McManus, Malaury Martin.
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas (Marvin Bartley 55), Martin Paterson (Charlie Austin 85), Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Brian Easton, Sam Vokes.
Previous Games against Middlesbrough
|Last 20 Years|
|h||3-1||14,366||Rodriguez, Elliott, Duff|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Middlesbrough