Andy Drury tips Middlesbrough to be among the promotion contenders this season

Middlesbrough v Ipswich: Andy Drury believes Ipswich will be coming up against a Middlesbrough side that will end the season in the top-six.

After signing eight new players this summer, Boro boss Tony Mowbray is still searching for his best side.

But capturing the likes of his former Town team-mate Grant Leadbitter as well as ex-England defender Jonathan Woodgate and Chelsea loanee midfielder Josh McEachran has clearly impressed the Blues midfielder.

Drury said: “I think they will be in the top six. They weren’t far off last season and they have made some good signings.

“I would imagine they would be up there but when we play at a high tempo and are organised and solid, we will be a match for anyone in this league.”

The 28-year-old is set to start at the Riverside alongside Massimo Luongo with Luke Hyam and Guriane N’Daw breathing down their necks from the bench.

But this intense competition is nothing new for Drury who explained: “All the boys that are in there at the moment are good players, no one will let you down.

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“But it has been like that since I have been at the club – with Jimmy (Bullard), Lee Bowyer, Keith Andrews and Grant (Leadbitter). “It is nothing new. Whoever I play with, I play my own game, work as hard as I can for the team and try and keep my own spot.”

Ipswich manager Paul Jewell has joined his midfielder in warning of the dangers posed by Boro, while entering the match in upbeat mood.

Jewell said: “Like every game in this league it’s a tough challenge, but we’re going there with a clean bill of health and full of confidence.

“We treat every opponent with respect. We’ve watched them on three occasions this season, there’ll be a video presentation on strengths and weaknesses, but the most important thing is that we have confidence in our own ability and try to go there and play.”

The Blues enter the match off the back of a two-week international break – but there was no talk of holidays at Playford Road.

Drury revealed: “We haven’t had many days off at all. I think a lot of clubs have had four or five days off, but we have had intense training, especially last week.

“We trained very hard this week as well so it has not been a relaxing break at all. We have had double sessions, working on our fitness and game aspects – we have covered everything.”