Middlesbrough’s Chris Wilder era began with a 1-1 draw at home to Millwall yesterday.
Boro, who currently sit in 14th and seven points from the Championship play-offs, opened the scoring through Matt Crooks in the 15th minute, before a Sol Bamba own goal helped to restore parity just 12 minutes later.
Neither side were able to carve out a chance to earn a victory at Riverside, with Boro back at home during the week to face a Preston North End side who have struggled on the road this campaign.
Here, we take a look at three things we learnt about Middlesbrough during their 1-1 draw with Preston yesterday…
Quiz: What club do these 22 rarely-seen ex-Middlesbrough players play at now?
Matt Crooks scores and shines
Matt Crooks was excellent in the first half and was unplayable at times, with the Neil Warnock signing starring in Wilder’s first game in charge.
Bringing physicality, technical ability and vision to the midfield position, the former Rotherham United man helped Boro to dominate the first half.
His influence lessened as the game wore on, but all in all, it was an excellent display from a player who is likely to play a big role in what remains of this season.
Duncan Watmore gave Millwall lots of problems
With Wilder already possessing a number of striking options, it was Andraz Sporar and Duncan Watmore who were partnered up top.
The latter’s pace, energy and intelligence, enabled him to be a constant threat throughout the game.
Watmore helped progress possession in the middle third and was also quite effective in the final third.
It will be interesting to see if Watmore is a consistent start under Wilder, as there are lots of attributes that he brings to a game of football.
Wilder could get a lot out of his attackers this season
Despite drawing at home, Middlesbrough’s attacking performance was something that drew excitement.
The likes of Marcus Tavernier, Marc Bola, Crooks and Watmore all possessed lots of confidence when going forward and they created some good opportunities.
Boro will be pleased with their performance and will be confident that they can win all three points when Preston visit during the week.
Wilder would have been pleased with his side’s display, but he will also know that there is plenty to work on.