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HUGHTON'S NOTES

Posted on 9 January 2006  - 12:00

Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Sunday...

Chris Hughton's regular assessment of our forthcoming opponents - next up, Middlesbrough at the Riverside on Sunday...

Generally speaking Middlesbrough go with a 4-4-2 formation and the core of the side is a particular strength looking at central defence and George Boateng in central midfield, a very good player with Doriva in there as well at the moment. They have a few injuries in that position including Gaizka Mendieta.

They always put a big responsibility on the front players and that's why over the last few years they've invested in goalscorers.

Someone with the quality of Mark Viduka you know is capable of scoring goals even if when he's not playing well.

Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Yakubu are both proven quality and Massimo Maccarone scored twice in the UEFA Cup win on Thursday night

At the back Chris Riggott is suspended after his red card against Liverpool but with all due respect to him that won't be too much of a hardship with Ugo Ehiogu available now and Gareth Southgate, who is one of the best captains around. He's still doing it and I'm convinced will continue to do it for a few years yet. He's always been a very mature lad.

They've moved things around in the wide areas because of injuries. James Morrison is one of a few that have come through the youth system that has worked well for them. He's got the right-hand spot at the moment, Matthew Bates is at right-back and Franck Queudrue loves to get forward and is a threat.

They remain a tough side to break down, especially at home and Middlesbrough is always a tough place to go. We'll expect nothing less on Sunday.