Strachan will fancy three points - Roy

ROY Keane knows full well that Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan will fancy his chances of escaping from Portman Road with a victory this afternoon.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

ROY Keane knows full well that Middlesbrough boss Gordon Strachan will fancy his chances of escaping from Portman Road with a victory this afternoon.

Strachan will have watched Town's below-par performance at Preston from last weekend, and his eyes will no doubt have lit up.

Keane was not happy with his team's display in that 2-0 defeat at Deepdale, which has left Town hovering just one place above the relegation zone.

“Gordon (Strachan) will be looking at us after last week and will be saying - We've got a chance against this lot!” admitted Keane.

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“We played them earlier in the season, when they had a different manager and some different players.

“They were much stronger than us that day, but like when we played West Brom, I think we're a lot better now, than we were then. Hopefully we will find that out this weekend,” added Keane.

Gareth Southgate was at the helm when Town were brushed aside 3-1 at the Riverside in September. He was controversially sacked on October 26, just six weeks after their win over Town, even though 'Boro were fourth in the table, just one point off top spot, and had just beaten Derby County 2-0.

Strachan has struggled to find a winning formula, and to that end he has recruited seven new players during the January transfer window.

Keane hopes that all these changes will disrupt 'Boro, at least until after this weekend.

“It's been a busy time, but when a new manager comes in he tries to make a mark on the team,” explained Keane.

“Gordon's done that. He's brought in a lot of lads from Celtic, players he knows, and just importantly players that know him.

“Just as he's lost one or two players, he's brought several in, including some strikers who can score goals and will score goals in the Championship. They'll be trying to get off the mark early.

“But we're just hoping that it might take them a few weeks to settle in, and obviously that would be after Saturday.”

Keane played for Celtic during the 2005-06 season, at the start of Strachan's reign as manager. Strachan went on to win three Scottish Premier League titles on the bounce, although Keane played just 10 league games during his one season at Celtic Park.

Keane confirmed: “I worked with Gordon for five or six months and enjoyed it.

“I didn't play as many games as I would have liked, but then again that's the manager's decision. I also tore my hamstring a couple of times, which didn't help, especially with all the travelling.

“Middlesbrough had high expectations at the start of the season, because when you've just been relegated, everyone automatically thinks you're going to be in the top three or four.

“If football was that simple, it would be great.”

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