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30th July 2017

Boro fans are very upbeat and optimistic about their return to The Championship following the appointment of Garry Monk to replace the defensively minded Aitor Karanka.

Over 20,000 season tickets have been sold as Steve Gibson once again backs his manager to the hilt. Over 40million has been spent already, although with a revamp of Karanka's misfiring squad from last season necessary the outgoings have helped defray the cost considerably.

There will be more comings and goings before the transfer window closes.

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With the addition of Assombolonga, Braithwaite and Fletcher Boro fans are expecting goals and a much more attacking approach from their side. There isn't over-confidence though as the Championship will be even more competitive this season.

Also signing a load of new players doesn't guarantee instant success. They will need time to settle in and gel as a team. The other thing is that whilst you need strength in depth for the arduous 46 game season, it is difficult at the moment for fans to second guess what Monk's starting line-up will be.

With the new attacking players added to the likes of Bamford, Traore and Gestede and Monk's reported preference for a 4-2-3-1 formation, it's hard to imagine how the jigsaw will piece itself together.

With question marks over the future of De Roon, Gibson and Ramirez it is even harder to assess who will be in the squad come the first week in September. These though are problems that most Championship managers would love to have and overall the feeling on Teesside is that Boro are well equipped to make an instant return to the top flight.

The supporters, knowing that it took seven years to return after the last relegation, won't be counting their chickens. They will be demanding a more adventurous approach and entertainment as opposed to what they endured last season.

The Teesside mantra has always been to expect a 100% effort and if you are to be beaten, to go down fighting. The supporters were short changed under Karanka, however they have remained behind the club and the full away allocation for the first away game at Wolves on August 5th went inside an hour.

There will be twists and turns and no certainties in probably the most competitive division in European football but Teesside expects and anything less than promotion come next May will be deemed as failure by the majority of the supporters.

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