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Interview with an away fan: Middlesbrough

Tomorrow Leeds take on Middlesbrough at Elland Road and I had a quick chat with Jonathan Firby, a big Middlesbrough fan and a keen blogger. Check out Jonathan's blog here.

You were favourites to go up last season, I myself backed you but it all went wrong under Gordon Strachan. What are the aims for the season?

Gordon Strachan spent big, counting on SPL players to get us back into the Premier League. Unfortunately the Championship was more difficult that Strachan estimated and the players he brought in struggled to make an impact. He sidelined players like Joe Bennett and Marvin Emnes, both who have come into their own under Tony Mowbray. He was just the wrong manager for our club and ethos.

Although Tony Mowbray has a very annoying voice, he knows what he is doing in this division. Can he sort you out and take you back to the Premier League?

With time Mogga will do the business but this season will come too early for him in my opinion as we have had to cut our wage bill by half, thus weakening the squad this season. This season I would be overjoyed if we managed to sneak into the play-offs.

You have just lost Leroy Lita to Swansea, do you have enough fire power up front left at Boro?

I was concerned about this until I watched our pre season friendly against PSV Eindhoven at the Riverside. Scott McDonald looked sharp and Marvin Emnes was outstanding. Although these two have no back-up yet, if they can stay fit they will score the goals we need.

What formation will Boro be fielding on Saturday?

Mogga has been playing experimenting with 5-3-2 in pre season and it worked with great effect on Tuesday night against Walsall. I would like to set up like this for the game against Leeds but he’ll probably go 4-4-2.

Which player or players do Leeds fans need to fear this weekend?

Emnes has scored 4 goals in 2 games, and will be looking to add to his tally. He has been playing with a confident swagger and will be difficult to stop with his pace, touch and strength. No doubt Joe Bennett, Merouane Zemmama (if fit) and Nicky Bailey will also prove a handful for the Leeds defence.

If you could sign any Leeds player who would it be?

Its got to be Luciano Becchio, he’s just what we need up front. I hope he’s not fit as Leeds seem to be pretty reliant on him.

Prediction for the match?

Boro will be going into the game full of confidence having suffered only one defeat in the league in the last thirteen matches and with a few players in good form I can only see us coming away from the game with all three points and a comfortable 2-0 win.

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