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Preview: Middlesbrough v Blues

We stepped up and looked dangerous as a team and those things will only improve with time and more games.

Garry Monk

Our full match preview ahead of Blues' trip to the Riverside Stadium on Saturday...

Garry Monk on aiming to build on the opening day draw against Norwich City...
"What we saw against Norwich was that focus and fight and everyone was together. I thought there were a lot of positives to come out of it. Mistakes led to the goals that they (Norwich) scored, especially the second one. But we'll try to iron those out and improve. But there were a lot of good things as well especially in the second-half especially. We stepped up and looked dangerous as a team and those things will only improve with time and more games."

Garry Monk on the test posed by Middlesbrough...
"They're one of the strongest sides in the league. And quite rightly they're fancied for promotion this year. We're under no illusions about how tough it's going to be. But we have to be ready when we go up there to show our fight and our spirit and quality. It's going to be tough but we're confident that if we continue working how we're working."

Garry Monk on the possibility of his three new signings starting at the Riverside...
"They've all had pre-seasons. Of course, every team works differently. It's about getting them up to speed with how we work and how we train physically and tactically and all those things. That's what we've been trying to do this week. The key is making sure that everyone is on the same page and you want the players when they go out onto the pitch to be able to do themselves justice and know exactly what we expect and what we want them to do. But they're intelligent lads and they're picking it up and they've already had a few training sessions with us."

Gary Monk on returning to Middlesbrough, the club he managed before he was dismissed...
“It’s part of this job and this business, for players and managers. You come across former teams. There is no negative feeling from my side, no resentment at all. I think you have to understand the owners have the right to make whatever decisions they make. Whether you feel that’s the right or wrong decision all you can ask yourself is: ‘Did I give my best for that club when I was working there?’. The answer to that is very clearly: ‘Of course I did’. As long as you have given your best and I definitely did that, you move on. It’s fine, it’s a good club. It’s something I enjoyed when I was there, but my focus is with Birmingham and making sure we are ready to give ourselves the best opportunity to try and get a result."

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis's comments ahead of the game...
"In the two games so far, Millwall and the home game against Sheffield United, we've played two teams who finished in the top 10 last season, to get four points has been fantastic. We're very pleased, we know it's going to be a tough game on Saturday. We need all the supporters, although they'll be desperately disappointed with what happened yesterday (in the transfer market), to turn up, because it will be a tough game. But we've certainly performed at a level that can get points."

Blues team news…
New signings Lee Camp, Connor Mahoney and Omar Bogle could all be in the matchday squad for the first time. David Davis (ankle) and Isaac Vassell (knee) remain out.

Middlesbrough team news...
New loan striker Jordan Hugill will not figure, with Boro boss Tony Pulis saying the West Ham man needs additional time to get match fit. Central midfielder Jonny Howson has recovered from the knock that saw his substituted in Boro's win against Sheffield United on Tuesday.

Last five meetings between Boro and Blues...
Championship 06 Mar 2018 Blues 0 - 1 Boro
Championship 22 Nov 2017 Boro 2 - 0 Blues
Championship 29 Apr 2016 Blues 2 - 2 Boro
Championship 12 Dec 2015 Boro 0 - 0 Blues
Championship 18 Feb 2015 Blues 1 - 1 Boro

Ticket news...
Blues have been supplied with 1,422 tickets. For details click here. As of Friday 10 August blues had sold 1,097 tickets. Blues fans will be able to pay on the day at the Riverside Stadium

BluesTV…
We are broadcasting the game live to overseas subscribers. There will be a pre-match show with host Dale Moon and Dele Adebola and Bryan Hughes, which will be available to overseas subscribers. Blues fans in the UK will be able listen to audio commentary with expert analysis from Dale Moon and Bryan Hughes. For full details about the new-look BluesTV, please click here.

Match officials…
Andrew Madley will take charge of Saturday's game at the Riverside Stadium. This is the second game of the season for the West Yorkshire-based official who was the man in the middle for Aston Villa's 3-1 win away at Hull City on Monday evening. He cautioned just two players in that match. The last Blues fixture he took charge of was our Championship home game against Villa last October which ended in a 0-0 draw. Five players were yellow carded in that match; including Marc Roberts, Cheikh Ndoye and Che Adams for Blues. Mr Madley will be assisted by Robert Merchant and Steven Meredith.

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