In-form Middlesbrough target a ‘Premier League treble’ as they host Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Middlesbrough are hoping to make it a clean sweep of victories against relegated Premier League opponents.
Boro – third and arguably the form side in the Championship along with Bournemouth – have already seen off Fulham and Cardiff City this season. And those triumphs have given head coach Aitor Karanka further belief his troops will be able to lower the colours of a Norwich City side that are looking to return to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
The former Real Madrid midfielder told the Middlesbrough Gazette: 'It's a big week for us and the most important thing is we won our game against Rotherham.
'We have two games after starting with a win, but our focus is the Norwich game. They are a Premier League team, they beat Bolton last Friday with a good squad, a good manager. We are at home and we need to think about ourselves.
'It will be an important two games because they are rivals for the end of the season, but I don't think that if we don't beat them we will not have chances to get our objectives. It's a very important week but it's not a defining week.
'Norwich are a big challenge, like Cardiff and Fulham were. They were teams who were in the Premier League last season. They have potential for promotion again. We beat Fulham and Cardiff, so now we play Norwich at home. I am confident because always against the good teams we play well.'
City midfielder Gary O'Neil, inset, returns to Teesside after ending six years at the club in 2011. He left the Riverside for £2m as Boro looked to trim the wage bill as they got used to life in the Championship.
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The skipper was a popular figure in the north-east but has already become a firm hit in Norfolk for his intelligent displays.
One player who is also coming up against a former employer is the hosts' Daniel Ayala. He looks certain to face the Canaries after earning praise from his boss – and fellow countryman – Karanka for his improvement in form so far this campaign.