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Former Middlesbrough star issues his honest opinion on the club’s current state

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Former Middlesbrough striker Jan Aage Fjortoft believes chairman Steve Gibson will be disappointed with their progress this season, despite being tucked into the top six.

Fjortoft, speaking to Gazette Live, said: “I think the owner at Boro will think they’d have done better this season, but Tony Pulis is an expert in promotion and they’re coming on strong now in the play-off positions.”

Boro have jumped up the table since appointing former West Brom manager Pulis in December, only a month on from his own sacking at the Hawthorns.. He joined them in ninth position and has nudged them up the table.

Fjortoft also played for Swindon, Sheffield United and Barnsley during his spell in England and it is the Tykes that form the opposition for Boro this weekend. He revealed he’s always reticent about who he supports in such situations.

“I always hide at these times. Whenever one of my old clubs meets another, I hide away from it. I’m very active on Twitter and people who follow me will know that when Barnsley or Boro, Sheffield United or Swindon, whenever they get a good result I tweet about it, it makes me happy to see them all doing well.”

Despite feeling the owner won’t be satisfied, Fjortoft was full of praise for Gibson and for his former employers.

“I look at another of my old clubs in Boro and they’ve a great owner, they’ve really invested over the years, they have a terrific stadium and facilities and the fan base is there now. You could say they’re a Premier League club really. But they’re still Middlesbrough.”

Fjortoft joined Middlesbrough from Swindon Town in 1995 and stayed for two years before moving to Sheffield United. He later played for Eintract Frankfurt and scored 20 goals in 71 outings for Norway.

The Verdict

I’m showing my age now, but I remember Fjortoft in his prime and he was a striker I always admired greatly.

He’s probably right about Steve Gibson hoping they were higher, although Garry Monk guiding them to ninth wasn’t the worst that could happen.

Tony Pulis is a wily old hand and if they’re going to earn promotion, he’ll know the best way to do it. As for this weekend, Fjortoft would have been wise to back Boro as they look favourites to triumph.

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