BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Neil Harris reckons he will have a very good idea of Middlesbrough’s team well before it is handed in at The Den – but admits that also works the opposite way.
The Lions kicks off their Championship campaign at home to the Teessiders, who are one of the favourites for promotion.
Harris has changed around his starting line-up in pre-season but believes most managers at this level are “very accurate” in knowing how the opposition will line up.
“Very rarely do you get a team sheet and you go: ‘oh, I didn’t expect him to play or him to play’.
“It does happen, of course it does. Some managers like to rotate a lot more, that’s fine.
“Sometimes foreign managers do it a little bit differently to English managers – you get a team-sheet and it could be anything; a 4-4-2, a 4-5-1, sometimes you just have to roll with it until you get out on the pitch.
“Between the staff and players there is so much due-diligence that goes on behind the scenes.
“There is so much attention on press articles and our opposition scout Steve Jones watches our next opponent live in their previous game and does a report for me. Myself and my staff watch at least three, if not four, of their previous games.
“The clubs know each other inside out. Analysis plays such a big part in the modern game – you pretty much know the capabilities of a whole squad. Who is right-footed or left-footed and whether they are a midfield runner or a holding midfielder.”
IMAGE BY KEITH GILLARD
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