Cottagers Confidential: Middlesbrough is just out of the automatic playoff spots. You have a great gold differential and a have only conceded 17 goals. Is this level defense sustainable? Are you worried that the club might need to score more?
oneBoro: The level of defence is more than sustainable. Aitor Karanka has drilled a defensive mentality into the team, not only in the back 4, but throughout the team. Dimi Konstantopoulos really deserves a lot of credit, his contribution often goes unnoticed - yes, it'll be his name next to the clean sheets, but especially in the last couple of fixtures he's produced some crucial saves.
Holding midfielders Grant Leadbitter and Adam Clayton also do a great job at protecting the back four, however this mentality worries me... lack of goals!
Karanka obviously noticed this was an area of concern in January, with the signing of Jordan Rhodes exactly what Boro have been lacking for the past couple of seasons.
In the mid-week game against Cardiff, this has been the most attacking focused Boro have been for a long time, I'm expecting goals in the coming games.
CC: You had quite a busy transfer window. How do the new signings and departures change the club from the one that Fulham drew 0-0 in October?
oneBoro: Jordan Rhodes has to be the standout signing for us, he means goals... hopefully we won't see a repeat of the 0-0 ;)
Gaston Ramirez looks like a promising attacking midfielder, signed on loan from Southampton. Additional backup was also brought in, reinforcing Karanka's stance of two or more players per position.
Middlesbrough has spent a lot of money. The FA is cracking down on this (as evidenced by all the transfer bans for this window). Are you worried that not being promoted could cause the FA to lay down penalties for the club? What happens if you don't go up?
oneBoro: I'm not worried about penalties, as I understand all the transfers we've made have complied with FA rules. A couple of ingenious payment terms should mean we're all good!
If we don't go up, I'm concerned. I think after this season it's going to be tough for clubs to make the step up to the Premier League. I have full faith in Steve Gibson and Aitor Karanka.
CC: Predicted lineup? Score?
Nsue, Fry, Gibson, Friend
Adomah, Leadbitter, Forshaw, Downing