The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP -

WHO is the best side in the north east? On this ev­i­dence, it isn’t New­cas­tle United or Sun­der­land. It’s the un­fash­ion­able rab­ble from down the road.

Right now, that’s a mat­ter of opin­ion. By Au­gust, it may be a mat­ter of fact. Whilst the two fallen gi­ants thrash around in the Premier League quag­mire, Boro – for so long the poor re­la­tion – march in­ex­orably on. In games gone by, Boro’s de­fen­sive ex­cel­lence has masked a dearth of threat. And while that gran­ite back four re­mains the bedrock of their suc­cess, at­tack­ing dis­plays like this will soon see that gap at the top stretch to a chasm. How sweet it would be for their fans if they swiped the Premier League mil­lions from un­der their lo­cal ri­vals’ noses. Derby shouldn’t be too dis­heart­ened; the Rams sim­ply met a su­pe­rior op­po­nent at the top of their game.

Boro re­main for­mi­da­ble op­po­nents and, with a couple of new re­cruits, will be chal­leng­ing for the ti­tle all the way.

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