Darren Bent has predicted that Middlesbrough will be a dark horse for promotion in the Championship this season.
Boro endured a tough season in the Championship in 2019/20, and following the sacking of Jonathan Woodgate, Neil Warnock came in and kept them up.
Boro – who ended up finishing 17th in the Championship table – will now have Warnock in charge for the 2020/21 season, and he will be hoping to see the club make improvements this season.
Quiz: 6 of these Middlesbrough facts are false – Can you identify them?
Former Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur striker Darren Bent, though, has predicted that Boro will be dark horses for promotion in the Championship this term.
Speaking to Teesside Live, Bent said: “I think Warnock is the reason why Middlesbrough will be close. I know it’s a bit of an outrageous shout because they were poor last season but Warnock is one of the managers who will look at what he’s got, go 4-4-2, and the back-four and midfield four just won’t move.
“First of all, he’ll get them to be hard to play against, solid and then he’ll add quality to it going forward to try and get a goal at the other end.
“When Cardiff got promoted under him, I don’t think they were particularly great, there were better teams in the division but because they kept clean sheets, they all worked hard, they ultimately ended up getting promoted.
“With this Middlesbrough team, I can see the fundamentals again, he’s making them hard to play against, hard to beat and, before we know it, Middlesbrough are up there again.”
The club have lost some experienced heads, though, with the likes of Daniel Ayala, Adam Clayton, George Friend and Ryan Shotton all departing the Riverside for free.
This is a rather surprising prediction made by Bent.
Boro have a decent, experienced manager in charge who knows what it takes to win promotion to the Premier League, and he will be keen to ensure Boro avoid a repeat of last season.
But I don’t know whether Boro have the quality in their squad, or the amount of players in their squad at the moment, to challenge for promotion.
They need to bring in some exciting, fast attacking players and someone to help Ashley Fletcher up top before they can begin to challenge for the top-six.