Norwich City vs Middlesbrough Preview: Former play-off finalists replay 2015 final

Norwich City vs Middlesbrough Preview: Former play-off finalists replay 2015 final

With both teams happy with the additions made during January. 13th Norwich City take on 8th place Middlesbrough at 3pm, on Saturday, in the Sky Bet Championship.

Vincent Ray

Daniel Farke believes his side are coming against one of the strongest teams in the league.

In his Friday press conference Farke complimented his opponents, saying that if he was asked at the start of the season to name his title favourites: "I would have said two, Wolves and Middlesbrough."

Farke went on to say that Boro “have spent lots of money in the offensive areas", adding that they "have an experienced coach and really want to get back in the battle for promotion."

The Norwich boss remains confident ahead of kick-off however, stressing: “we know we can win some points against good teams", before adding "we know we can be competitive and that’s what we’ll try and do tomorrow.”

Pulis calls on Boro to be more clinical

Tony Pulis was full of praise for Farke’s men during his pre-match press conference with the Canaries loosing just on game in the last 7 league games, saying: "I've never been to Carrow Road and had an easy game."

The Welshman admitted that his Boro side have missed one thing recently, saying they can't “put the ball in the back of the net" but insisted that "other than that, we've been brilliant in every other department".

The Boro boss continued to call for consistency from his side, with Middlesbrough unable to win three consecutive games under the Welshman’s reign, saying that "it's about putting a run together now and we need to improve our home form as well as picking up wins away from home."

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Team news

Daniel Farke cut down the size of his squad in the January window, with 12 players leaving the club including the loss of key playmaker Alex Pritchard for an undisclosed fee to Huddersfield. In addition, forwards Russell Martin (Rangers), Cameron Jerome (Derby) and Steven Naismith (Hearts) all departed the club.

The German Head Coach made additions to both his development squad and first team squad with the three major signings of Cuban-born winger Onel Hernandez (Eintracht Braunschweig), Dennis Srbeny 23-year-old striker (Paderborn), and former Dortmund midfielder Moritz Leitner on loan (Augsburg).

Norwich will have a late fitness test on James Maddison and Timm Klose who jave both missed training through minor injuries. However, Wes Hoolahan and Tom Trybull trained troughout the week and are both available. Ivo Pinto (knee) and Matt Jarvis (long term injury) will defiantly not feature through injury.

Pulis also promised to offload players and only bring in loan players to improve the squad. A total of seven players left the north east club on permanent or loan deals including £9 million summer signing Martin Braithwaite (Bordeaux). Following Pulis’ promise with the additions of three loanees; Jack Harrison (Manchester City), Mo Besic (Everton) and Martin Cranie (Huddersfield).

Just one of the additions will be available for the clash at Carrow Road with Jack Harrison not up to match fitness due to it only being pre-season in the MLS and Martin Cranie carrying a slight injury that will keep him on the side-line for a further week. Other than the additions and with Daniel Ayala playing the full 90 minutes on Tuesday, after an injury scare in the FA Cup, Boro are left with a fully fit squad.