Middlesbrough U23s return to action at Heritage Park this Friday evening with West Ham United the visitors to the County Durham ground.
Having played as recently as Monday night in the Wear-Tees derby against rivals Sunderland, Boro had already won two and drawn one of their opening four matches in this season’s Premier League 2 campaign, the Sunderland game finishing 3-2 in Boro’s favour for the Teessiders third win of the season.
Stephen Walker bagged two penalties for the Boro alongside a third from Rumarn Burrell as they came from behind away to the winless Black Cats.
West Ham meanwhile have enjoyed a great start to the season, winning three and drawing one of their opening four league matches, the draw being 2-2 with Manchester United at Old Trafford at the end of August whilst they have also edged a nine-goal thriller away to Newport County in the Leasing.com Trophy, and defeated Spanish side Valencia 1-0 in the Premier League International Cup, Nathan Holland with the only goal of the game.
Monday night’s game would see the Hammers entertain West Bromwich Albion and come away with a 2-0 win to continue their impressive start to the season as Anthony Scully scored twice.
A tough ask for the Boro and an exciting game ahead not only for the two sides, but for the football fans as well.
Boro coach Graeme Lee (above) said: “It was good to get another win at Sunderland and maintain what has been a decent start overall for us.
“In fairness, the 3-2 result probably flattered Sunderland because we had enough chances to have been out of sight before they pulled a second goal back.
“It’s a good result for us going into the West Ham game on Friday.
“Winning breeds confidence, and the lads know the standards that are expected of them.”
Meanwhile Lee’s Hammers counterpart, Dmitri Halajko (below), added: “It is two games in five days so it’ll be a physical and mental test from that point of view.
“You never go up to Middlesbrough and have an easy game, so you know it’s going to be another tough one and we’ll have to be at our best.
“If we perform like we did in the second half earlier this week, then we should have a positive outcome.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had an easy game against a Middlesbrough team. They’re always going to be well organised, always going to be hard working, always got some players who’ve got real quality.”
Impressed by Hammers danger-man, and top scorer, Anthony Scully, Dmitri added: “Anthony’s top scorer now since he’s gone into that No9 position; he’s really made it his own.
“He’s scored four, five goals, and he could’ve got three the other night (vs. West Brom) – he looks like a real, real threat, a predator, in and around the box.
“We’re really happy with his progress and he will be as well.”
Tickets for Middlesbrough U23s vs. West Ham United U23s, kick-off at 19:00, are available on the gate priced at £3 (other than MFC season ticket holders who need to produce their card); parking available on a first-come-first-served basis.