Strachan: Town can make up ground

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Gordon Strachan is expected to field a new-look side in this afternoon's Championship fixture at Portman Road (kick-off 3pm).Strikers Scott McDonald and Lee Miller are set to be up front while on loan defenders Kyle Naughton and Stephen McManus are also likely to start.

Elvin King

MIDDLESBROUGH manager Gordon Strachan is expected to field a new-look side in this afternoon's Championship fixture at Portman Road (kick-off 3pm).

Strikers Scott McDonald and Lee Miller are set to be up front while on loan defenders Kyle Naughton and Stephen McManus are also likely to start.

Strachan, who took Blues boss Roy Keane to Celtic in his first season as manager of the Scottish club, said: “It's always good to meet up with people you have been involved with in the game.


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“But the main thing is that we have prepared for a game that will be just as tough as any other in the Championship. Ipswich are nine points behind us and that's not a lot.”

McDonald, who cost �3million from Celtic earlier this week, has not kicked a ball in anger since having a hernia operation, but Strachan said: “He's trained with us all week.

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“We need a player with his abilities in front of goal.

“He's can score goals anywhere - in Old Firm games, in cup finals, and in Europe. You can see the spirit he has brought to the training ground this week.”

Miller has arrived from Aberdeen and is set to partner McDonald with Strachan adding: “Lee always gave Celtic and Rangers trouble whenever he played against them.

“We're confident he can do the same for us in the Championship.”

Adam Johnson has left to go to Manchester City since Middlesbrough's home draw last weekend and Strachan is prepared for life without the midfielder.

He wants every member of his post-Johnson side to take more responsibility.

Strachan added: “When you look at the number of goals and assists that Adam gave us, you can see why we always did well when he was in the team.

“As much as we would have loved to have kept him, it wouldn't have been right to stop him from going to Manchester City, and working with the likes of Tevez, Adebayor and Bellamy.

“He has helped the club to collect a few bob and we've already used some of the money.

“Now we have to move on as a club and become more rounded as a team, and make sure we supply the forwards with the service they need.”

Strachan is looking for his team to strive to reach a higher level of performance.

He said: “We are getting more competitive and, hopefully, with the new players we will get more competitive still.

“We've brought in hungry players who want to win. What we have to do now is to work hard to try to put a run of results together and get ourselves in the play-off positions.”

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