Date: 28th December 2007 at 8:38am
Written by:

What made you support Boro mate?
Well, as with all clubs that aren’t exactly successful it’s a family thing. We’re all Boro fans, and it was my dad that took me to my first game and got me addicted. I should hate him for it, the misery he’s caused me, but strangely I don’t.

Are you happy with how your season is going so far?
Not really!! We are in a difficult position, just above the relegation zone and so vulnerable to being dragged into a scrap with the bottom six or seven teams. I don’t look forward to that!! I think we need to get our act together fast, otherwise we’ll be in trouble!!

Things have seemed a little ‘difficult’ for Gareth Southgate this season, but in recent weeks fortunes have changed – how is the job he is doing being portrayed with the natives?
He’s doing okay so far, but he’s not exactly working wonders. The jury is still out on Southgate as far as most Boro fans are concerned. We will support him all the way, he has a good relationship with the fans from his playing days, but he needs to back that up with results. And fast!!

How do you rate the signings he made last summer?
I was more disappointed with the players we let go. Yakubu and Mark Viduka are such big players, who will get you 15 goals a season at the very least, and I realise they probably had to move on, but I was gutted about that. Sanli Tuncay is beginning to look like the player we’ve heard so much about in the past, and I am optimistic that he will get better and better. I’m not sure about Mido; the quality is there, but his attitude is questionable. I don’t rate Dong Gook Lee either. We have had to rely on our youngsters a lot this season, which may explain our stuttering start, but I’m proud of the youth system and our policy of giving the English kids a chance.

Will he need more in January – and will he get them?
I think he will definitely need to strengthen in January. I think we need a striker more than anything. I’ve heard a load of named being linked with us, Defoe, Crouch, Baros, Luke Moore, and I just hope Gareth brings in the right man for the job. I’ve recently published an article on the situation in the window, and it looks like Steve Gibson (our chairman) is willing to provide the cash if the right player is identified.

Who is the Boro danger man that Pompey should watch?
I would say Tuncay. He is improving and learning the game in this league gradually. His record at the moment is three goals in as many games, and he will be our main goal threat. The other one would be Downing. He is very threatening down the left flank, and if you fail to keep him quiet he’ll cause you problems.

How do you reckon Boro will go this season?
I honestly don’t know! I’m split on this one! If we get the right players in during the window, we can have a comfortable mid-table season. However, if we don’t improve in January, we could get sucked into that relegation dogfight, and once you’re in there anything can happen, as you guys can testify.

What about Pompey?
I’d love to see you boys do well and get into Europe! Pompey is a proper English football club, and I have a lot of respect for that. Harry is working wonders again this season, and if you keep going you might cause an upset. However, I think you will suffer during the African Cup, and that may knock you off-course. I think you might just miss out on Europe this season, I’m afraid.

If you could take any Pompey player from our squad and put him in yours, who would it be and why?
This is a tough one! There’s so many to choose from – David James, Sol Campbell, Niko Kranjcar and David Nugent all appeal. However, considering our need for a striker at the moment, I would choose Benjani. He is a goal-machine this season, compared to last year when he couldn’t score to save his life. It just shows what a bit of faith and loyalty in your players can do! Although the man from Pompey I would really like to see at Boro is Harry Redknapp. I have a lot of respect for that guy, and he would be great at Boro!!

You signed the legend that is Gary O’Neil on the last transfer deadline day; I hope that you fellas are looking after him! How is he doing?
He hasn’t quite hit the headlines yet, but he is a hard-working type of midfield player, so he isn’t really expected to stand out. I think he was a good signing on deadline day, and I feel there’s a lot more to come from him.

Go on – who is going to win, Pompey or Boro?
I would be happy with a draw, which would hopefully round off our festive period nicely. It will be tough for us at your place, but it depends on how things go in the next couple of games. If the match was tomorrow I would be a lot more optimistic because we’re on a good run, but if you gave me a draw right now, I’d take it!

Questions answered by Boro 01 from Vital Boro


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