Middlesbrough look the best prepared of the three newly-promoted clubs to survive in the Premier League this season, according to Ray Parlour.
Middlesbrough were promoted from the Championship as runners-up to Burnley, but Aitor Karanka’s side have made the more headline-grabbing transfers over the summer, with Alvaro Negredo on loan and Denmark winger Viktor Fischer among their exciting new arrivals.
Parlour, who played for both Boro and Hull City, believes the Teessiders have strengthened well.
Speaking to our partner brand Planet Football, Parlour said: “It’s going to be tough for all three teams that have come up, it always is, but out of the three I think Middlesbrough are the best prepared.
“I was really pleased they got promoted last season. It’s a tough league to get out of, but Steve Gibson really backed his manager. At one stage it didn’t look too good for them when (Aitor) Karanka walked out and they lost to Charlton, but in the end they turned it around and managed to get over the line.
“I think they’ve made some good signings. The one thing you can always be sure of with Middlesbrough is that Steve Gibson will back his manager. I’m sure Karanka said we need a bit more quality, a bit more strength in depth, and they’ve made some great signings.
“Negredo in particular is a good signing. I know he misses chances, but he’s a proven striker. Victor Valdes as well has got lots of experience, and they’ve got good players there already.”
Middlesbrough open their campaign against Stoke City at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, and Parlour has stressed the importance of the newly-promoted teams getting off to a good start in what promises to be a competitive division.
He said: “We saw Bournemouth and Watford do so well last year, staying up, but it’s going to be even more difficult this year because every club is buying bigger players.
“But Middlesbrough have recruited well, they’ll have a go, and Middlesbrough is a tough place to go to as an away team.
“They’ve just got to make sure they get off to a good start. That’s what Bournemouth and Watford did last season and that’s why they stayed up.”
Ray Parlour has gone head to head with poker star Chris Moorman in the 888poker Premier League predictions.