Gary Pallister: Middlesbrough can become established Prem club

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Having secured promotion back to the Premier League last season, Middlesbrough fans are in buoyant mood. That includes former Boro star Gary Pallister, who discussed the bright future at the Riverside Stadium with Ladbrokes News, at our launch as the official betting partner of the FA.

Of the three sides promoted from last season’s Championship, Boro are widely considered to have done the best transfer business this summer – and the man affectionately known as ‘Pally’ is certainly enthused about their recent buys.

“Alvaro Negredo and Victor Valdes are the two stand-out signings for me”, he told Ladbrokes News.

“Negredo already has Premier League experience, and he’s a big, strong lad. Aitor Karanka does like to play with one up front, and in my view, Negredo has the physicality to cope with the lone striker role”, he added.

“As for Valdes, despite things going a bit sour for him at Manchester United, he’s a terrific keeper and has so much experience of winning major trophies.”

Indeed, Boro’s summer signings have seen many tip them as dark horses for a top-half finish at 7/1. And the man who spent four seasons in the top-flight with the club is cautiously optimistic.

“If Boro finished anywhere near mid-table, I think that would represent fantastic progress. I’d be very happy with that, but while it’s certainly not impossible, the first and main aim has to be survival”, Pallister said.

He added: “Right now, the stadium is getting a revamp and the club are gearing up well for top-flight football. That infrastructure hopefully means the end of Boro being a yo-yo club and we’ll see the club really establishing themselves in the Premier League”.

And that can only be good news for the Teesside area, as the north-east native was keen to point out.

“The return of Premier League football means a great deal to everyone in Middlesbrough. When the team is doing well, it gives the town an identity.”

“Their recent success has lifted the spirits of everyone on Teesside, and hopefully they can continue to give everyone plenty to cheer about. I see no reason why the Boro won’t carry on improving!”

Middlesbrough are 2/5 to avoid the drop from the Premier League this season, while more ambitious fans can back them to finish in the top ten or even the top six (40/1).

Boro’s first top-flight fixture since 2009 sees Karanka’s men welcome Stoke City to the Riverside Stadium, with 23/20 for the hosts to taste victory.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.