BIG MATCH PREVIEW: Farke wary of Boro backlash
Middlesbrough’s stuttering Championship form has put Norwich City head coach Daniel Farke on red alert.
Norwich City head to the north-east looking to maintain their Championship promotion push against the Teessiders.
Tony Pulis’ experienced squad need points to bolster their play-off bid and stop the rot after two home defeats and a sobering 3-0 away loss at Aston Villa prior to the international break.
Farke, however, is seeing nothing to alter his long-held view City’s assignment at Boro will be one of their hardest inside the final furlong.
“On paper it looks our toughest; going away to such an experienced side and an experienced coach who are sitting in the play-off positions and need points,” he said. “I would prefer to travel to Boro when they had won the last game.
“They have had one or two poor results and a young, naïve side might be nervous. They will be more focused and concentrated under Tony Pulis and this will be one of their best performances of the season.
“We are respectful. We have to be at our best level to win some points. We like these difficult challenges.
“I am not surprised by their form. That is the Championship but you must also analyse the games. They lost at home to Preston, after playing with 10 men for something like an hour.
“I think they appealed on the red card and were successful and now (Dani) Ayala can play against us.
“But when you have 10 men and face a side on fire you can lose. The same at Aston Villa. So I am not interpreting these results as a dip.
“There are reasons for the recent defeats and they are still in the play-off positions.”
Boro have the best defensive record in the league but the fewest home wins of any team in the top half of the Championship. Teemu Pukki’s close range finish edged a tight affair at Carrow Road earlier this sason, and Farke predicts more of the same.
“It is always difficult to score against a Tony Pulis side. They are well structured and we have to be unbelievably effective at using our chances,” said Farke. “They are good on the counter, good on set pieces.
“Even if we go in the lead and there was some moaning from the home fans I would be sure that doesn’t affect Pulis or his players. They won’t lose the nerve.
“Against a younger side or a team who had just been promoted that could happen.”