The three Middlesbrough stars West Brom will have to keep quiet in opening Championship clash

West Bromwich Albion are back in Championship action this weekend, and here we look at the standout men of their opening day opponents.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

West Bromwich Albion return to Championship action this weekend as the new season gets going.

The Baggies will want an improved campaign this time around after failing to mount a serious playoff challenge last season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Steve Bruce is heading into his first full campaign, and fans will believe West Brom will have a chance at challenging for promotion.

But they will face a tough test on opening weekend, facing a Middlesbrough side who narrowly missed out on the top six finish last term.

Here we take a look at Boro’s most dangerous stars.

Matt Crooks

Crooks enjoyed a very impressive season of last, netting 11 times and racking up three assists from midfield.

The 28-year-old was central to Middlesbrough’s playoff push last season and he has already been on the scoresheet in pre-season.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

West Brom will need to win the midfield battle to come out on top against Boro, and keeping Crooks quiet will be central to that.

Duncan Watmore

Watmore has been a regular for Boro in the last two years, and he was one of the standout players last season.

The 28-year-old netted seven and assisted three from out wise last term, and he managed as many as 22 starts in a competitive Boro side, starting seven of the last eight games.

With Marcus Tavernier expected to join Bournemouth, Watmore could become even more central.

Paddy McNair

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

McNair is not an attacking talent, but he is a key component for Boro.

The former Manchester United defender played a pivotal role at centre-back, while also being able to play in midfield, and he is a player the frontmen will need to get the best of to get on the scoresheet.

McNair also scored five goals last season, as much as star man Tavernier, so he is also a danger in the opposition box when it comes to set-pieces.

Chris Wilder recently said of McNair’s ambitions: “He wants to play in a certain position, though we know he will play for us in any position.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“But he wants to play in one position and we want to get the best out of him as well. We need competition for places.

“I see Paddy as a right-sided centre-back in a three where he will battle it out with Anf, but if we have to, we know he can play six and he can play eight and he can play, as he did for the majority of last year, left of the back three.

“But I think for us to get the best out of one of our best players, he needs to play in the position where he’s most comfortable.

“He wants to play there, I want him to play there, but he has a huge fight on to get into the team. Names don’t win games. He’s a hell of a player, but one thing I will say is, I’m not going to leave my best players sat on the bench.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.