The first game of the new season is fast approaching now and Boro face a big test against Warnock's promotion favourites Fulham. For the second season in a row we face a big test in our first match against a relegated, parachute supported side. Hopefully we can one better than a valiant defeat away at the Hornets last term. Neil Warnock was looking forward to the match and talking about team work being a key strength for Boro.

Here are a few quotes from my interview with the manager at the zoom press conference this morning.

Fly: You have talked about teamwork being vitally important to us this season. Do you think going to the south west really brought everyone together?
Yes I think we all needed that. We had a few players and some of them we had known before, Peltier etc but it just gets everyone away from the environment and we had good training facilities and we had three good games and got a lot of work in. We trained on the days of matches as well. We didn't let the matches interfere with the training. It was hard work really but I think we got our rewards for it now.

I think if you miss the pre-season you struggle to catch up. So, I have been really pleased, touch wood, that the players that got injured at the end of last season have all come through well. We are going to need that.

Fly: We are going against a very strong team and set up at Fulham. Is this a problem if we still have one or two things to put in place?
I think Sunday will tell us a few stories won't it. I think they will probably be the favourites of the three relegated teams with the money they are spending. It looks like they are going to sign Grimes and they have got a striker. You look at their squad in general. I think Blacky said last week when he went to watch them there were 35 names on the programme, something like that. And I said we only had 14 training and I got some stick about that.

So, I am not going to moan about that. We have got the same number of players on the field anyhow. And we will give it our best shot. I am really looking forward to it.

I think Craven Cottage is a special place, me.

I remember when I was young as a player. Coming out and seeing their famous player, Johnny Haynes, in his long shorts and that corner where the actual cottage is. I have got good memories there. Some of my mates are season ticket holders at Fulham as well. So I am looking forward to catching up with them as well.

It will be an emotional return for Boro fans starved of live football for so long. Ironically our last mass outing was also in London, away at Charlton. A week later the world caved in through COVID. Have a safe trip this time everyone.

Fly: You have mentioned today about experiencing the Boro away support at Rotherham. The players must be looking forward to coming out the tunnel and seeing and hearing all those fans?
Yes, it does make a difference Rob doesn't it. Especially away from home because they are all put together in one area usually and its such a noise, you know. I'm thinking of the games coming up this season and where the away fans go and its quite exciting I think because I think sometimes they can out-shout the home fans. A lot of the time. Because you really get the hardcore supporter who is really behind the team. They give and take a little bit. I think they can put up with the odd mistakes that players and managers make. Whereas the home fans are a little bit more critical aren't they at times. I don't mean the prawn sandwich brigade but the ones that come at home, I think they are more difficult to please.

Fly: After everything we have been through and you mentioned the Fulham tickets selling in 4 minutes, do you think this could be a really special season. For all of us together?
Well, I think it is going to be a special season for me, whatever happens because I am really pleased about how we have moved on in the club and how the club is. I do enjoy working for Steve, I have always wanted to show Steve what I can do. And nothing changes. He supports me and I am delighted for that.

I want us to enjoy it Rob. I have said all along, that is what I want us to do. Life is too short. We have had a pandemic, we are all back in now, lets go and enjoy it now. There could be ups and downs, no doubt but we haven't got a bad team and I think we can give anybody a good run for their money.

Fly: Thank you and hope we all enjoy it on Sunday.
Thanks ever so much Rob, thanks everybody.